21 Dec Doyle signs cable competition bill into law
Madison, Wis. – Gov. Jim Doyle has signed Assembly Bill 207, legislation that will provide Wisconsin consumers with more cable service choices, but used his veto pen to preserve consumer protections.
The new law streamlines the cable franchise process by creating a statewide video service franchise process through the Department of Financial Institutions. The statewide franchise will replace the current process where municipalities grant cable franchises in Wisconsin, and existing municipal cable franchises will be phased out.
Doyle said the bill would open the door to cable competition in Wisconsin, resulting in expanded services to consumers and more investments in communications technologies and infrastructure.
He said state consumer protection laws will continue to cover consumers on issues like billing errors and service interruptions. In addition, language was vetoed from the bill that limited consumer protections and prohibited state agencies from drafting administrative rules regarding the new franchise application and revocation process.
The law’s chief sponsors were State Sen. Jeff Plale, D-South Milwaukee, and State Rep. Phil Montgomery, R- Green Bay.
Under the new law, video service providers will still pay a fee to municipalities set at no more than five percent of the company’s gross receipts. Public, educational, and government channels will continue to broadcast, and video service providers will continue to pay municipalities for use of public rights of way.
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