Statewide franchising of cable OK'd in Iowa
The state becomes the first in Qwest's service area to adopt the
measure, aiding the company's video push.
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Thursday, May 31, 2007
first state in Qwest's local service territory has approved a
statewide cable-franchising measure.
The move will enable the Denver-based company to bypass local
municipalities in its effort to offer video services.
Iowa Gov. Chet Culvers signed the state's cable bill into law
Qwest is the last of the three Baby Bells to win the ability to
pursue a statewide cable-franchise agreement in at least one of
its states. Qwest, AT&T and Verizon are increasingly looking to
offer video services to help offset losses of phone customers to
cable and Internet phone companies, such as Comcast and Vonage.
About a dozen states have approved statewide franchise measures,
which eliminate the need for companies to seek approval from
local municipalities individually before they offer alternatives
to cable-TV service.
Qwest didn't say when it would seek a statewide franchise
agreement in Iowa.
"We're beginning the process of reviewing the opportunity,"
Qwest's Iowa president, Max Phillips, said Wednesday.
Janco Partners telecom analyst Donna Jaegers said the passage of
the measure is a "small positive" for Qwest because just 7
percent of the company's total revenue comes from Iowa
residential and business customers.
"But I'm sure Qwest will point to it and try to lobby other
state regulators on board," Jaegers said.
This year, Qwest pursued statewide cable measures in six of the
14 states in its service territory. Measures are either in
review or will be carried over to 2008 in Idaho, Minnesota, Utah
and Washington. The measure was killed in Colorado, and Qwest
has since returned to seeking franchise agreements from local
municipalities in the state.
Qwest already has local agreements in a handful of communities
in Colorado, Arizona and Nebraska. The company is gaining
traction in its efforts to win an agreement in Portland, Ore.
Phillips said the passage of the measure may help Qwest in other
"I really do think it creates a model for other states to
follow," Phillips said.
He said a concern cable companies in Iowa had was that they
would be tied to local agreements while their competitors gained
statewide contracts. The new law allows cable companies to
break away from their local agreements and seek a statewide deal
once competition begins in their service area.
Staff writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or