R. Neal has the details in this post and notes as well that Georgia gave AT&T what they wanted and as many as 200 families in Atlanta will benefit.
Also, Stacey Briggs, executive director for the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, has challenged claims from AT&T that it takes too long to devise local franchise contracts:
"Briggs also challenged statements made by Morton that city-by-city franchising takes 13 months. AT&T has been invited by some Tennessee communities to deploy competitive cable services and those municipalities have promised expedited franchise negotiations, Briggs said, but AT&T has not filed for local franchises in the state, investing its capital instead in a statewide solution.
An AT&T media representative did not respond to a request for comments on Briggs's letter by deadline Thursday."
Some background on the issue and the stance taken by State Senator Steve Southerland, chair of the committee reviewing the proposal from AT&T, are here.
UPDATE: North Carolina went the way of state-regulated franchises, with some poor results:
"Beware of legislation promising "competition." A bill passed by the General Assembly last year that was intended to jump-start competition in the cable TV industry has had the unforeseen consequence of costing the state and local governments across North Carolina millions of dollars in lost revenue. And six months after the law went into effect, that promised competition is nowhere in sight.
The Video Service Competition Act was passed with the promise that telecom companies such as AT&T and Verizon would leap to provide video services across the state. (Video is the new term for cable TV, to catch up with the technologies that deliver it. More and more, Internet, video and voice—formerly phone—are delivered through the same pipes.) The companies would offer competitive pricing and give consumers used to relying on one, or no, service provider, choices in service—if only the state would make it easy for them to get in the game. Under the old system, a cable TV provider would negotiate with the city, town or county where it wanted to provide service. But the phone companies didn't want to negotiate town by town, so they pushed for a statewide franchise system with little, if any, oversight. There's no approval process, and as long as the paperwork is filled out correctly, the state is required to accept the company's plan.
The bill's main opponent, the League of Municipalities, backed down after lawmakers reassured the group that the revenue local governments collect from cable TV taxes—money that goes into the general fund to pay for basic services, such as fire and police—would stay the same.But according to figures from the N.C. Department of Revenue, local governments have received 27.8 percent less across the board under the new system."
Read the entire article here.