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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 17, 2011

Qwest Hopes to Change the TV Regulatory Rules in Colorado

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Qwest (News - Alert) executives would like to see a change in the way Colorado’s cable TV is regulated, according to this MediaBiz report. These executives would like to see a regulatory scheme that is administered by the state, much like those in some 28 other states.

This request appears to be linked to the impending Qwest acquisition by CenturyLink, which will give Qwest more video options post-merger. Qwest would like to see things change in Colorado – and perhaps other states – such as an elimination of the full build-our requirements with which all cable systems must comply.

According to this Denver Post report, a wave of video franchise reform could start in Colorado before making its way through other parts of Qwest’s local-phone service territory. First, however, Qwest has to make its case heard.

From 2005 to 2008, 20 states created laws that shifted the oversight of cable-television services from local municipalities to the state level. For the region covered by Qwest services, only Iowa was part of this restructuring and Colorado actually killed the measure in 2007.

Qwest would like to see this change and as a first leg of the journey, is in discussions with Colorado lawmakers regarding a reintroduction of video reform legislation during this legislative session. It’s possible the company could also be eyeing a similar push in other states.

A Denver-based company, Qwest is also meeting with organizations that represent local governments, including the Colorado Municipal League and the Greater Metro Telecommunications Consortium. The company hopes this proactive approach will help to minimize the opposition to the change.

It seems officials may be ready to negotiate a change. Darryn Zuehlke, director of Denver's office of telecommunications, which administers the city's cable franchises, told the Post that the ballgame is a little different this time around. The organization at least wants to dust off the conversations and see what the ball field looks like right now.

One of the changes is Qwest’s pending merger with CenturyLink, which will provide Qwest with broader video capabilities. CenturyLink offers TV service in five markets, with full commercial rollout in two of those markets expected to be completed in early 2011.

In other Qwest news, TMCnet recently reported on the company’s launch of the iQ E-Line service. This new self-described high-performance dedicated network solution helps Qwest customers increase business value and improve quality of bandwidth connectivity.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee