Malone Encourages Rate Hikes

John Malone, chairman of cable giant Tele-Communications Inc., told an industry gathering in Anaheim that cable companies should brave bad publicity and push ahead with rate increases that are crucial to long-term viability.

"For us to be shy about rate increases is foolish," said Malone, whose company lost thousands of subscribers this summer when it raised rates 13% in the wake of federal deregulation. "The cable industry has the lowest returns on invested capital of any business in America. The industry has to restructure itself to generate earnings."

TCI recently laid off 6% of its work force and said it would scale back high-tech network upgrades.

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