One day after Rep Joe Barton (R-TX) released his controversial video franchising draft, Comcast and Time Warner were telling the FCC that it shouldn’t get involved in the issue. In separate filings, the 2 largest MSOs told the Commission that it doesn’t have the legal authority to act on franchising concerns. "[This] is yet another attempt by the Bells to circumvent the law and tilt the playing field in their favor," said Comcast’s filing. It added that any FCC move would steal power from local government and would allow Bells to pursue "’high-value’ customers while bypassing ‘low-value’ ones." As for Barton’s bill, few Washington watchers believe it will be enacted this year. UBS says Barton’s bill could be finalized by the end of Apr and be put before the House in June. However, everyone agrees that the Senate is much further behind on franchising legislation. It appears Barton’s net neutrality provisions—or, rather, the lack of them—is creating the biggest uproar. Rep Ed Markey (D-MA) complained that the bill’s move to remove FCC authority to establish net neutrality rules "favors the communications colossi at the expense of the public interest." Markey also complained about the lack of build-out requirements for the Bells. Amazon, Google and Microsoft sent a letter blasting the bill’s net neutrality stance. "This bill would allow for such a fundamental change in the paradigm of the Internet that it would frustrate the reasonable expectations of the tens of millions of Americans who go online," the companies wrote to House Commerce. Also signing the letter were eBay, IAC/Interactive Corp and Yahoo. The Consumer Electronics Assn applauded the bill for recognizing "the importance of ensuring key broadband policy principles." And BellSouth cheered the natl franchise provisions of the bill.

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Reax to Warner Bros’ SVOD Film Deal

AT&T certainly rattled some cages yesterday with the decision to release all 17 of its 2021 Warner Bros films simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. AMC Theatres said it had immediately restarted

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