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Charter Seeks Freedom in Nevada

11/22/2004 7:29 AM Eastern

Charter Communications Inc. asked the Federal Communications Commission to remove the oversight of local governments in the Reno-Carson City area and southern Nevada, AP reported.

The MSO said the move would allow it to better compete with direct-broadcast satellite providers.

Charter officials told AP satellite providers control about 20% of the market, and vice president of government relations Marsha Berkbigler said that by escaping regulatory control, the operator would be able to better compete with companies such as DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network by creating different packages of channels.

"If this change happened tomorrow, would it have a direct impact on the customers' rates? No," she told AP.

But Andrew Barbano, chairman of the Reno Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, said the governments would lose their last bit of power over Charter, according to AP.

"What they did was come up with a system to blackmail you into buying a more expensive service, so the only thing the municipalities have left is regulating the basic tier," Barbano told AP.

Charter signed a 15-year franchise agreement with Reno earlier this year, and the MSO would still have to comply with the terms of that agreement, according to AP.

 

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