Last week's attempt to roll back the Local Government Fair Competition Act failed in committee. LaFonta is back today for another bite at the same apple. You can watch the process by logging into the House Commerce committeee hearing this morning at 9 from the link on the Legislature's front page. (An icon will appear when the stream is live--this can be as much as 10 minutes after the scheduled hour, depending on how slowly the committee is brought to order.)
Last week's version was structured as an indendent law that had the effect of repealing the law in relation to wireless technologies. This week's version is set up as a straight exemption of the provisions of law in regard to wireless.
Expect to see the same faces and the same arguments at the table. Oddly, BellSouth did not appear to testify against the bill, leaving Cox and the Cable guys to carry their water. BellSouth has much more immediately at stake--they offer a version of paid wifi that they'd like to substitute for real landline service for some areas of the city and Cox has no WiFi product and no visible plans for one. BellSouth's lobbyists are working the topic and BellSouth has consisitently opposed New Orleans on this issue. The most dramatic instance was when threats that it presumed were made in private were made public in the Washington Post. Granted it's all been a real PR nightmare for BellSouth, so it is understandable that they'd not want to be upfront if they could manage it. But the real question is why Cox would carry water for BellSouth. Especially at this moment when doing so frees up BellSouth's lobbying contingent to pursue a state-wide cable TV franchise bill that is aimed directly at Cox. LaFonta, the author of the repeal bill was reportedly furious at Cox and had not expected their opposition.
You gotta wonder: What's the deal? You have to think that there is some horse-trading going on in the background.