Comcast-AT&T on West Coast Time

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The AT&T Broadband/Comcast Corp. transfer has finally been approved by
the Los Angeles City Council.

This is a turnaround from August, when the city denied the transfer without
prejudice. AT&T Broadband then objected to an agreement crafted by the city,
which contained reservation of a rights clause inserted by Los Angeles after
negotiations with the companies.

Los Angeles officials are working on an open-programming-access ordinance,
which, in the future, will bar incumbents from signing exclusive local
programming agreements. These are viewed as detrimental to competitive
latecomers such as Altrio Communications Inc., which currently has a franchise
request pending before the city.

But the rights clause has been removed from the transfer. Liza Lowery,
general manager of the city's Information Technology Agency, explained that in
the opinion of the city attorney, the clause is not necessary.

The city is proceeding with the open-programming-access issue, but that has
been separated from the transfer process.

The retooled transfer agreement was approved Nov. 6 by a 12-0 vote of the
City Council.

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