It is much easier for the telcos to prevent this at the state level, than fight the battle in individual towns.
Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!
Here in Wisconsin, two years ago ATT came to the Capitol with more than a dozen lobbyists and started handing out campaign contributions. They picked a conservative Democrat and a Republican from the Senate and Assembly who would play ball. They handed them a "bill mill" draft of how they'd like to revamp Wisconsin's cable television laws. They did not invite anyone else to the meetings. They didn't invite the over-the-air broadcasters, they didn't invite the cable industry, they didn't invite the community television stations. They listened to ATT. They removed local city control and oversight of cable franchises and replaced it with a state-level franchise system with little to no oversight. They assigned minimal regulatory powers to the department of financial institutions - not the existing Public Service Commission that handles all other telecom. The only powers they assigned were to accept the annual $5,000 franchise application. They were not given any powers to reject any applications. They sunset the ability of cities to assign a surcharge on bills to fund their community television operations. All this, in the name of allowing ATT to be able to cherry-pick which neighborhoods would get U-Verse, without having to offer it to entire communities.