FreedomWorks Grassroots Effort Helps Deliver Cable Choice in Florida

FreedomWorks’ grassroots activism paid off for consumers when the Florida House voted this week 117-2 in favor of HB 529, the Consumer Choice Act of 2007. This bill will allow consumers to benefit from increased competition and innovation in the video services arena by streamlining the currently complex and cumbersome video franchising process. To build widespread support and push this reform over the top, FreedomWorks engaged its grassroots army in an integrated campaign that put our volunteers in touch with their legislators via email, phone, and face to face lobbying.

FreedomWorks Florida Field Coordinator Tom Gaitens headed up the group’s on the ground operations, coordinating with coalition allies and talking to targeted legislators and their staff. In March, Tom also led an elite group of FreedomWorks activists to Tallahassee for a day of one-on-one lobbying on behalf of this important reform.

Today’s video services market is changing rapidly. Competition between phone, wireless, cable, satellite, and other providers gives consumers a wider range of choices. Governor Crist’s signature on HB 529 will finally unleash the benefits of this competition for the Sunshine State.

Under current law, companies that want to provide video programming are required to apply for a franchise on a town-by-town basis. This time-consuming and costly practice acts as a barrier to competition as the application process is expensive and can take years to complete. The Consumer Choice Act of 2007 will streamline the franchise process in Florida making it easier for competitors to enter the market, which will create incentives to invest in the networks that will keep Florida an economic powerhouse.

FreedomWorks Florida Field Coordinator Tom Gaitens commented:

“The people of Florida will win with the Consumer Choice Act of 2007. This pro-growth, free-market telecommunications reform will inject real competition into the video services marketplace and all consumers will reap the benefits. Florida FreedomWorks has been fighting on behalf of this reform since last year and it’s great to see it finally nearing the finish line. All that’s left now is Governor Crist’s official signing of this important legislation into law. “

The Florida campaign is a part of FreedomWorks’ national “Choose Your Cable” campaign, an effort in support of broad nationwide telecommunications reform at both the state and federal level through an integrated campaign that includes extensive activist education, targeted grassroots lobbying, and both print and television advertising. Recently, FreedomWorks efforts helped to enact cable franchise reform in Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, and Missouri.