Agenda for Republican House Policy Committee Hearing on State Franchising

I haven't had time to research all of these players, but it basically boils down to 1:05- the Phoenix Center (a pro-free market group); 1:35- cable companies (pro-status quo); 2:05- phone companies (pro-state franchising); 2:35- towns and cities (they want to keep their franchise fees and should want to protect their franchising authority; rural towns especially should demand buildout schedules); and, at 3:05- AARP (a pro-buildout and net neutrality group).

Here's the draft agenda, with comments and links added:

“Cable Competition”
Representative Mario J Civera, Chairman
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Harrisburg, PA

1:00 p.m.

Mario J. Civera, Jr., Chairman

Chairmain Civera refused to fill out the National Political Awareness Test, but here is a summary of his stance on various issues. The only thing that stands out for this Republican from Delaware County (just outside of Philadelphia) is his support of labor issues. If you review the Mario Civera fundraising summary, you see that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is his top donor.

1:05 p.m.

Thomas Koutsky Phoenix Center (see bio [pdf])

The front page of the Phoenix Center's website quotes Adam Smith, Friedrich August von Hayek, and Representative James Sensenbrenner. They employ a rhetoric of detached reason to argue in favor of complete deregulation: the immediate introduction of state or federal franchising with no buildout requirements or PEG provisions. (For an example of this argument, see "23 March 2006 Testimony of Phoenix Center Resident Scholar Thomas Koutsky before the Florida House Committee on Utilities and Telecommunications" [pdf])

1:35 p.m. Comcast and the Cable Companies

David Dreidinger, Division V.P. Governmental & Regulatory Affairs, Comcast

Daniel Tunnell, Broadband Cable Association

Bill Domurad, CEO, Clearview Partners

Robert Miller, Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations, Blue Ridge Communications

2:05 p.m. Verizon

Frank Buzydlowski, Verizon Communications

Jane K. Fortin, Director, Verizon PA Regulatory

2:35 p.m. Townships and Boroughs

Elam M. Herr, Assistant Executive Director, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors

Edward Troxell, Director of Government Affairs, Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs

Frederick Polner, Esquire, Polner Law Office

Frederick Polner is a telecommunications lawyer and adviser to municipalities. He is a former staff attorney for the FCC. As indicated by his authorship of "Who's in Control? FCC, Congress Tinker with Townships' Authority to Manage Rights of Way, Collect Franchise Fees," he is a strong advocate for local authority.

Thomas Scarborough, Doylestown Township Supervisor, President of Bucks County Association of Township Officials

3:05 p.m. The lone consumer voice.

Raymond Landis, AARP

The AARP recently came out in favor of the open internet, also known as "net neutrality."

Written testimony submitted by: (tentative list of providers)

Joshua Breitbart, Communications Director, Media Tank, Philadelphia Grassroots Cable Coalition (see statement)

George Strimel, Chairman, Alliance for Community Media

Irene McNeil, President & CEO, Lower Merion & Narberth Public Access Television



  1. […] In fact it’s Verizon that has been manipulating the local franchise process to their own ends. At an April hearing on state franchising, Attorney Fred Polner told the Republican House Policy Committee that Verizon was intentionally dragging out local franchise negotiations in order to bolster its petition for legislative relief. Polner represents a consortium of more than 30 Bucks county townships who came together to expedite negotiations with Verizon. […]

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