Senate Panel Ready for Video Rivals

A Senate subcommittee hearing Wednesday on video competition will feature two cable-industry leaders, Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt and National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Kyle McSlarrow.

Also slated to testify are Forrest Miller, president, SBC Communications Inc.; Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor; Mark Cooper, director of research; Consumer Federation of America; and Doron Gorshein, CEO, The America Channel.

The hearing by the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights comes as the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission continue to review the acquisition of Adelphia Communications Corp. by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc.

SBC, along with Verizon Communications Inc., is urging Congress to expedite video competition by removing local franchising requirements.

Cable has stated that franchising helps to ensure that new entrants can’t cream-skim affluent neighborhoods.

Consumer groups continue to press cable to sell more channels a la carte to help consumers lower bills. In connection with the Adelphia merger, America Channel has complained about the inability of independent networks to obtain cable carriage.