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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida House bill 1199, known as the Consumer Choice Act of 2006, was approved today by the House Utilities Committee. Based on similar measures that have passed within the past year in Texas, Virginia and Indiana, the Consumer Choice Act would create state-issued franchising in Florida, greatly streamlining the cable television franchise process and leading to the faster creation of video choice and competition for Florida consumers. The bill next must go to the Finance and Tax Committee, as well as the Commerce Council, before going to the full House for a vote. The following response should be attributed to Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president.
"Today's vote represents the first step toward the creation of a vibrant and competitive market for cable television throughout Florida. A Phoenix Center study released in February found that for each year franchise reform is delayed, Florida consumers can expect to pay an extra $626 million in rates they can never recover without competition - an average of $95 per household. These costs only get worse with each subsequent year of the status quo."
"Competition in the telecommunications market has led to greater choice, enhanced value, better packages, better technology and service, and lower prices. Cable television customers deserve the same experience. We commend the bill's sponsor, Rep. Trey Treviesa, for his farsighted leadership on this issue and the Utilities Committee for its vote and look forward to the day when Floridians have a greater choice when selecting their video services provider."