Cox Seeks Phoenix Cluster Deregulation


Cox Communications Inc. is asking the federal government to remove all
cable-price controls in Phoenix -- the cable operator's largest cluster, with
about 600,000 area subscribers -- a company spokeswoman said.

Cox spokeswoman Laura Oberhelman confirmed that the company made the filing
with the Federal Communications Commission May 10.

If Cox's request is granted, Phoenix and neighboring jurisdictions would lose
their authority to place price controls on the basic tier, which typically
includes local TV signals, as well as public and government-access channels.

Congress deregulated expanded-basic cable rates March 31, 1999.

FCC approval would also mean that Cox would no longer have to offer a uniform
rate structure in the Phoenix area and no longer have to place local TV signals
only on the basic tier. Those steps can make it easier to respond to
overbuilders and direct-broadcast satellite providers.

Cox faces head-to-head competition from Qwest Communications International
Inc., which offers video programming to about 42,000 customers.

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.

Cox, based in Atlanta, is the fifth-largest cable operator, with about 6.2
million subscribers.