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It’s Near Wire For Comcast, Sacramento

4/11/2004 8:00 PM Eastern

Comcast Corp. has one more week to negotiate a settlement with the city and county of Sacramento, Calif., over disputed license fees, or a third-party hearing officer will resolve the matter.

At issue: about $350,000 in fees identified by county auditors that regulators assert were underpaid by Comcast, based on its gross revenues dating back to 1999.

Auditors actually found the system owed $790,322 in back license fees and interest for the period. Comcast agreed with some of the auditor’s assertions, and has paid $412,000, according to regulators. (Sacramento does not have a traditional franchise scheme; it collects a license fee from operators.)

Irregularities found included failure to pay revenues for several suburbs and subs at McClellan Air Force Base, failure to include national ad revenue in gross revenue computations and the omission of home-shopping revenue.

Regulators and the company remain divided on the issue of the amount owed for national advertising. Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission executive director Richard Esposto said the total disparity represented about 4% of the revenues earned by the Sacramento system during the audit period.

At the April 1 meeting, Esposto recommended the commission declare Comcast in breach of its contract. But the commission directed the sides back to the negotiating table.

 

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April