Heritage Minister Josée Verner stirs debate on TV fees

According to a Globe and Mail article by Grant Roberson, Heritage Minister Josée Verner waded into the highly charged battle over additional fees for television channels distributed by cable and satellite distributors. As an outsider, this seems to be a form of the same debate we are seeing with the Net neutrality.

We have certain organizations that control the "last mile" into the home (cable and satellite companies) that form a bottleneck for consumers. Because this bottleneck is able to set policy to prioritize traffic, it needs to be highly government regulated. The television networks want to charge a premium for these stations, and thus the television networks, the physical bottlenecks, and the regulators end up battling.

I believe the same solution as for Net Neutrality would solve this problem as well. We need a high-speed (fiber) connection into our homes that is managed as part of the municipal infrastructure just like the roads. We would then connect to service providers to get our various services: Internet, voice, television, etc. (Note: The municipal infrastructure provider should not be legally allowed to offer any of these services).

I should be able to pick what stations/networks I connect into, what voice provider I use, and what out-of-city ISP service I want from an entirely free market of choices.

CanWest Global would be one of the services I could directly connect to, and I would be able to pay them directly for the services that they offer. The same for CBC and other networks and individual specialty stations that offer their services in Ottawa.

While this would be a win-win for consumers and the television networks, and require less government regulation as consumers would have more free market choice. It would be a loss for the incumbent telephone and cable companies which would be entirely replaced by this advancement. And, to be honest, good riddance to both.