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LuxSit sed:

<<TCI owns an asset, the cable plant. T bought the plant. Requiring that T share their property is totally unlawful, and that fact will prevail in a court of law. >>

Goofy sed:

Actually not necessarily true at all. In return for being granted monopoly status - and being protected from competition for the period of the franchise lease, the cities often retain certain rights, including the right to program their own channels, have a say in what services are or are not provided, are given certain reliability guarantees, and in some cases that I know of, are ceded the "plants" at the end of the contract. In the case of a default or other failure, the remedy can be as severe as immediate termination of the franchise and forfeiture of all assets.

Probably the only plants that have ever been ceded to a government agency are small underfunded, heavily indebt systems. As long as there is equity in the system, and profitability, it will be a cold day in hell before a cable operator rolls over and plays dead. I don't have the details on these franchise agreements, and as I have posted before, I wish that some one would post links to the ones of interest. Namely Portland, Seattle, Denver and King County.

From what I know of these agreements, they give minimal rights to the municipalities such as local cable tv access, monthly fees for the right-of-way use, gaurentees of area coverage, etc.

I don't believe the public agency has much more interest in the cable plant than the salvage of the plant upon abandonment, or severe dereliction of duty. I don't think that this is the case, at least in Seattle.

TCI is behind in their upgrade schedule, but in a court of law if they can show that they have made steady progreess in trying to comply with the spirit of the agreement they will prevail. The Seattle Council has figured that out and will likely ok the AT&T/TCI deal. King County will posture for a while longer, but I suspect that they will go the way of approval. Doing anything else would be stupid as Portland has already shown.

Good Luck,
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