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Cities Laud FCC Rejection of Cable Deregulation Bid

Calling it a victory for cable customers, attorneys for some cities said a ruling Wednesday by federal officials will prevent a local cable provider from raising rates and could even force some reductions.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Cable Services Bureau Wednesday rejected an effort by Charter Communications to deregulate its rates from city control. Charter serves cities including Pasadena, West Covina and Alhambra.

Charter had cited competition from a Pacific Bell microwave system as the reason for deregulation, but FCC cable officials said the firm had failed to met the burden of proof that there was real competition.

Attorneys for Duarte, Azusa and Signal Hill, who challenged Charter’s effort, said the ruling prevents Charter from hiking rates without city approval. Attorney Bill Marticorena said some Charter customers could also see the cost of cable cut or even receive a refund if Charter charged more than the approved rate in their city.

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Charter had argued it had the power to increase rates pending a FCC decision, he said.

Officials at Charter’s Pasadena office referred calls to the company’s corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where officials were unavailable for comment. The firm can appeal the decision to the full Federal Communication Commission.


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