Boston -- Cablevision Systems Corp. won support from
the Massachusetts attorney general last week in its contention that Boston Edison
illegally transferred valuable assets, such as fiber and rights of way, into its joint
venture with cable and phone upstart RCN Corp.
Last Thursday, Attorney General Scott Harshberger asked the
state Department of Telecommunications and Energy to hold off on approving Boston
Edison's plan to create a holding company while the charges are investigated. The DTE
had closed hearings on the proposal without taking action.
Harshberger cited new evidence, presented by Cablevision,
that Boston Edison's investment in the joint venture went beyond what the agency had
previously approved. Cablevision contended that the assets transferred to the venture were
worth about $100 million more than Boston Edison claimed.
Boston Edison spokesman Michael Monahan called the
allegations "a continuing, desperate effort by Cablevision and the cable-television
industry to stop competition." Cablevision has franchises in Boston, Brookline and
Framingham, Mass., and in other communities. RCN has picked up cable franchises in nearby
Somerville and Newton, and it has permission to build open-video systems throughout the