The federal government last Wednesday granted Cox Communications Inc. total price deregulation for its Phoenix systems, the company's largest cluster with about 600,000 subscribers.
The Federal Communications Commission ruled that Cox faces "effective competition" from Qwest Communications International Inc. in the local pay TV market.
Cox, based in Atlanta, is the fifth-largest cable operator, with about 6.2 million subscribers.
Qwest Choice TV employs VDSL (very high-speed digital-subscriber-line) technology that offers a 190-channel platform, including 27 pay-per-view and 45 music channels. It has about 42,000 subscribers in the Phoenix area.
Cox filed for deregulation with the FCC in May. Phoenix-area governments no longer regulate its basic tier, and the company is no longer required to offer uniform rates in a franchise area.
The operator filed for rate relief in nine communities and was granted relief in eight, including Phoenix, which has 465,000 households, the FCC said.