WASHINGTON (Reuters) - SBC Communications has charted a collision course with local governments with its plans to launch a video television service late this year without seeking local franchise agreements.
SBC, the second-largest U.S. telecommunications company, plans to offer video to 18 million homes over the next three years, using a combination of new technology and existing telephone wires, in a plan it calls "Project Lightspeed."
But it is running into federal and state regulations for cable television franchises, which can govern everything from where a company can offer service to how many public-access channels it has to offer.
SBC is pressing its case with lawmakers and regulators, arguing that a new competitor with new technology should not face old rules, and that forging franchises with up to 2,000 small governments would greatly slow its plans.
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