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McSlarrow Rips Bells for Hardball Tactics on the Hill

Philadelphia — Complaining that telephone companies are “cherry-picking to their hearts content,” National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow argued that telcos looking to obtain cable franchises in order to compete with cable operators should have to adhere to the same rules that govern MSOs.

“The question is: What are the rules of the road? Are the rules going to be what cable has lived under for years, or are we just going to turn on a dime and provide a different set of rules for different players?” McSlarrow rhetorically asked attendees during an address at the CTAM Summit here.

He went on to say that the Bells don't typically play by anyone else's rules and that they aren't asking for cable-like rules on Capitol Hill.

“These are tough competitors,” he said. “They're going to change the rules if they don't like them. They're going to squash competitors.”

NCTA is currently working with CTAM on developing a new marketing campaign for the cable industry. McSlarrow, in his first address at CTAM as NCTA chief, didn't detail the plans for the campaign. But the former Department of Energy deputy secretary called on cable marketers to tell cable's story. “We do need to explain to people that real choice isn't granted by a government mandate,” he said.

McSlarrow hinted that new spots would tell cable's story, including its history of entrepreneurship.