Cable’s arguments against a controversial national franchising proposal in the House could be gaining some traction. Charter’s Neil Smit, one of several MSO CEOs meeting with House and Senate Commerce leaders last week, said Republicans are responding to cable’s rate regulation arguments, while Democrats are reacting to redlining criticisms. Cable’s top brass combed the House and Senate offices last week, including Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt, Insight’s Michael Willner and Mediacom’s Rocco Commisso. Comcast’s Brian Roberts was in town the previous week. The CEOs’ read: some type of franchise reform is likely in the House; the Senate’s less clear. "The cable industry has always embraced legislation that increased the likelihood for fair compensation for both ourselves and our competitors," Willner told CableFAX Mon. For example, cable didn’t oppose the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act when DBS was entering video. "But don’t confuse that with having to give regulatory and legislative advantages to an industry whose 2nd largest participant is larger than our entire industry combined," he said. The proposal being hashed out in House Commerce would give telcos national franchises, while forcing cable to continue with existing franchises until telcos had 15% local market penetration. If cable wanted to match a telco promotion in a neighborhood, an operator would be forced to offer the same discount to its entire footprint. "Parts of this [plan] really ties our hands behind our backs," Willner said. Smit’s take: "It just seems greedy."

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