Senate May Expand Cable Television
The new bill would give that power to the State Public Service Commission, the same people who regulate your electric and gas rates. The proposal would also let phone companies enter the cable TV business, allowing companies like AT&T to offer service across the state.
Sen. John Griesheimer (R) sponsored the bill, one he says will save Missourians money.
"To me, this gives everybody a choice," he said. "It gives everybody a choice for better services and for lower prices."
The cable industry supports the bill even though it will bring more competition.
"Charter and all the rest of the members of the Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association [MCTA] are very confident that their offerings of service are a very high quality and they're not afraid of competition," said MCTA president Greg Harrison.
There's plenty in the bill to please the cable companies. It would either allow them to stay with franchises in place in local communities, opt into the new statewide franchise system if they get new competition, or move to the statewide franchise system immediately if the governor signs the bill. There's no telling how the bill will change when it gets to the House, so until then, cable providers and phone companies say they'll stay cautiously optimistic about the new plan.