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San Fernando Valley : Pacific Bell Plugs Into Future Via Fiber-Optics

Pacific Bell broke ground Monday in Calabasas on a project to replace the company’s outdated copper cable system with a fiber-optic network as part of a plan to eventually rewire much of the state.

Installation of the company’s “communications superhighway” will improve telephone service and provide a means for Pacific Bell to enter local cable television markets, executives said.

It will allow the company to deliver hundreds of channels of cable programming and interactive video services.

Calabasas--one of five communities chosen for the project’s initial phase--was selected because it will be easy to rewire, the company said.

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Market studies show that Calabasas residents want an alternative to existing cable programming and that there is a market for the interactive services, officials said.

It will cost Pacific Bell $16 billion to rewire its service area, which covers about 70% of the state, the company said. Other areas to be rewired in the first phase are Reseda, San Jose, Orange and San Diego.

Reseda was chosen because of its central location in the San Fernando Valley, said Patrick McChesney, Pacific Bell regional manager.

Also, studies show there is a market for additional cable television service in the community.

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