Charter Rebate Due in Calif.


Charter Communications Inc. customers in Glendale and Burbank, Calif., will
receive $12.12 each under terms of a settlement to the two cities' challenge of
the MSO's inside-wire-maintenance package.

Charter had been offering the package to its suburban Los Angeles customers
for 95 cents per month. But following a joint investigation of the charge, the
two cities told Charter the fee was excessive.

In November, the cities issued a joint order demanding that the operator drop
the charge from 95 cents per month to only 4 cents.

Charter argued that the service package was initially advertised as cable
coverage. But because it now provides a 'whole house' service for all modem-,
telephone- or even satellite-wiring connections, the service is no longer
subject to municipal rules.

When the cities refused to back down, Charter took the issue to the Federal
Communications Commission. But federal authorities backed the city: Although
Charter expanded the scope of the service, it was still marketed as a
cable-maintenance plan.

The FCC did, however, trim the amount of the rebate. The cities can only
demand credits for overcharges that date back to March 2000, the commission

Charter will make its customers whole by issuing a one-time credit of $12.12,
which includes 8 percent interest, to consumers who subscribed to the
maintenance plan. The credits will appear on subscribers' bills in the next 60

The MSO has amended its marketing of the plan to inform would-be customers
that the maintenance package is for all telecommunications services. The package
remains priced at 95 cents.