State senators have started working their way through a proposal that would let telephone companies compete with cable television companies. Sponsor John Griesheimer of Washington says a delicate compromise has been reached between the new technology represented by A-T-and-T, and the existing local monopolies held by cable interests. He says the most troubling issue is the "opt-out" provision that lets cable operators opt out of their local franchise when the phone company starts providing competition in the town and get a statewide franchise under the Public Service Commission.

The bill lets telephone companies get a statewide franchise under the Public Service Commission instead of negotiating with every community. That’s a concern to Independence Senator Victory Callahan who says the legislature "better make sure" that state franchises have all of the duties and obligations the local cable franchises have. One rural senator who has a big district says he has not figured out yet how the proposal will ever help his constituents if the compromise breaks down. More debate comes today.
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