Adelphia Settles Md. Dispute


Adelphia Communications Corp. will pay about $170,000 in back franchise fees, interest and customer-service fines to resolve a long-simmering dispute with regulators in Carroll County, Md.

The settlement is pending approval by the court handling the operator’s bankruptcy filing.

The back franchise fees, $122,500 worth, will make up for the amount officials alleged that the operator underpaid from July 2000-July 2002. Adelphia filed for bankruptcy in June 2002. Company officials also indicated that they would pay about $15,000 in interest on the disputed amount.

Adelphia officials said that when post-bankruptcy management came on board, it was clear that Carroll County and its 20,000 customers had not “received the attention they deserved,” said Kristy Hall, director of government affairs for the MSO’s central region.

Adelphia executives said the Carroll County payments reflected what the new management has tried to do in other hot spots, such as Los Angeles and the state of Vermont, to get the company out of the regulatory doghouse.

In Los Angeles, new management dropped a rate-rollback appeal and agreed to refund $5 million to 220,000 customers in the city. In Vermont, Adelphia negotiated an end to litigation with a state agency by promising to build 1,500 extra miles of broadband plant as part of its statewide upgrade. That project is to be completed by 2009.