Administration and Regulatory Affairs
Frequently Asked Questions
DOES THE CITY OF HOUSTON HAVE AN EXCLUSIVE CABLE FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH A CABLE PROVIDER?
No. Service providers looking to serve a particular area can file in Texas for a state-issued cable franchise agreement through the Public Utility Commission (PUC). The PUC of Texas has regulatory authority over cable franchises within the state of Texas. The PUC does NOT grant exclusive state issued cable franchise agreements. Therefore, it is up to an individual cable/internet provider to determine whether or not they want to serve the area.
WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE OPTION FOR CABLE/INTERNET SERVICE IN MY AREA?
Companies will analyze their potential rate of return versus capital investment when evaluating a new market. The company’s anticipated market penetration versus their competitors also influences their decision to serve an area. The bottom line is cost. The cost of installing infrastructure, especially fiber, is high. Texas laws prevent a municipality from providing municipal broadband and from partnering with telecom providers to incentivize and offset this large capital investment.
CAN THE CITY OF HOUSTON PROVIDE BROADBAND SERVICE?
No. Chapter 54, Subchapter E of the Texas Utilities Code prohibits a municipality from providing telecommunications services.
We hope this information helps clarify our authority regarding cable/internet service within the City of Houston. For additional questions, you can contact our Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department at 832-393-8591.