Verizon and SBC lost a major legislative battle in Texas this week. They had hoped that they could strike a deal with the state of Texas to roll out their IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) services. Instead, they will have to do what the cable companies had to do years ago — negotiate municipality by municipality.
Going town to town will take far more resources than striking a state-wide deal, so this is considered a huge victory for the cable industry. If it stands, it will give the cable operators a considerable head start offering new telco-related services in a very competitive digital landscape.
Whether you consider this decision fair or unfair depends mostly on where your particular stake is. However, one thing that has become clear is the need for an overhaul of the telecommunications laws. Much has changed since the last revamping in 1996 and the legislation does not predict, nor does it cover, the wide range of services that could be brought to market.
For now, the telcos are going to hope that other states don’t use Texas as precedent to deny them their state-wide deal goals. Only time will tell.