If the legislature wants to do one exciting thing this coming year, it should consider wholly scrapping the local franchise. The local franchise doesn’t have anything to do with fast food restaurants; rather the local franchise is that agreement by which a cable company structures a very lengthy agreement with a municipality to provide cable service.
The negotiations are complex and the franchise agreement derived from the negotiations is usually more complex. In Texas, the legislature scrapped the local franchise requirement. Subsequently, Texas saw a flood of companies entering its markets and trying out new technology, including Verizon, which has successfully deployed FIOS. FIOS is a new fiber optic network that delivers 15mbps of highspeed internet down for less than what you are now paying for a 4mbps cable broadband connection. (Yeah!!!!)
Congress is currently considering a new telecom act that would scrap the local franchise. Georgia should beat Congress on this. I’m covering the issue and other issues related to broadband over at Broadband Blog.