Comcast SmaTV Sale Buys Time

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The Federal Communications Commission has granted Comcast Corp. more time to clean up some lingering cross-ownership conflicts stemming from its recent merger with AT&T Broadband.

In a staff decision, the FCC gave Comcast, the country's largest cable operator with 22 million subscribers, until March 3 to divest five satellite master antenna television (SMATV) systems or integrate them into its local franchise agreements.

Comcast had 60 days from the close of the merger to comply with FCC rules. But the company said it ran into some problems with five SMATV systems and needed an additional 45 days.

The SMATV systems involved — one in Hartford, Conn., and four in Indiana — serve 856 subscribers in all.

In Hartford, Comcast plans to discontinue the SMATV service and convert the one building over to the cable system.

In Indiana, the MSO intends to sell the SMATVs to Insight Communications Co.

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