the city and its consumers," said the ITA's Juarros. "Because we did that, we tried to do it as on-balanced as possible. We wanted to fully understand all sides. We make arguments both for and against open access."

The agency's June report stated, "concerns about the nature of the market for broadband access services warrant continued monitoring. However, the market's ability to grow and develop should not be hindered by regulation that is based on speculative assumptions about the future of the Internet."

The agency's report echoed the FCC's findings for the most part, but did not completely agree with the FCC's viewpoint. "'Wait and see' is an approach adopted by the FCC. It recognizes the likelihood that a competitive market in broadband Internet access services will develop. Its estimation of the residential broadband Internet access market may be optimistic. In Los Angeles, some providers are focusing solely on the business sector."

The agency recommended the City Council not require an open-access condition, but monitor the Los Angeles market to determine if the open-access condition would become necessary.

The agency also recommended the following regulatory proposal: "Define a set of conditions that govern the provision of cable modem service in Los Angeles, including scheduled deployment, access to all Internet content without limitation, universal availability of the service, technical standards, application of the consumer service standards, payment of cable franchise fees for cable-modem service and a market-based reopener to secure."

The report's market-based reopener lets the city attach an open-access provision in the future, following this statutory language: "Parties agree that the Internet services obligations may be reopened for resolution if any cable television franchisee's high-speed Internet access services capture more than two-thirds of the customers served by high-speed Internet access technology in a geographic area defined by any cable system operated by that franchisee in Los Angeles."

Mission Impossible?

Local governments face a daunting task when deciding their approach to franchise agreements and transfers of control. However, there are precedents to consider and preparations to be made which will ease the process