AT&T Inc. has announced that it will invest $750 million in a broadband network to compete directly with cable-television providers in the State of Florida.
As the result of a new law passed last spring by the State of Florida legislature, telecommunications companies can now compete head-on with cable providers for video customers. The Florida law was passed after its backers promised increased competition and lower telecommunications costs for consumers.
Under the new law communications providers can establish state-wide franchises, cutting counties and local governments out of previous exclusive contract provider arrangements and thus unable to collect franchise fees from the carriers.
As a result, AT&T has announced that it plans to bundle television, telephone and Internet services and offer them to Florida consumers over a fiber optic network, similar to DSL.
The new Florida statute is supposed to keep providers from denying coverage to consumers based on location due to income or race, but the law does not indicate when the network must be built in a particular locale.