Charter Seeking Basic Dereg in Northwest


Charter Communications Inc. is seeking total rate deregulation for 21 cable franchises serving communities scattered across the Pacific Northwest.

Charter recently filed petitions with the Federal Communications Commission for authority to set its own basic-tier rates in 15 franchise areas in Washington state and six in Oregon.

Oregon communities listed included Adams, Lakeview and Roseburg. In Washington, Charter filed for communities including Ellensburg, Omak and Waitsburg.

The basis of the requests was direct-broadcast satellite penetration greater than 15%, according to an informed source.

Expanded-basic rates were deregulated March 31, 1999, but basic rates remain under local control until the cable company demonstrates that effective competition has emerged.

The basic tier includes local TV stations, public-access channels and any cable networks placed there by operators.