Fine Mess for Comcast in Modesto

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The City Council of the central California city of Modesto voted Tuesday
night to fine the local Comcast Corp. system just over $1 million for failure to
properly ground consumer cable drops by the deadline set in its franchise
agreement.

A city consultant estimated that as many as 22,300 cable homes, or 26% of the
franchise, are improperly grounded and ripe for in-home accidents.

In addition to the fine, according to assistant city manager Donna Hansen,
the council directed the city attorney to get a court injunction to require the
operator to move any plant the city deems improperly grounded. That could force
Comcast to remove both active and inactive drops.

Representatives of United Cable/Comcast, as the local unit is identified,
argued that they are rectifying the problem they inherited from AT&T
Broadband.

It will take at least 18 months to check and repair bad drops in the
approximately 90,000-home system, they added. But the local system faces further
fines if it sticks to that timeline.

The current fine covers the period from May 14-June 3. Going forward, the
fine will be $1 per home violation, per day, escalating every two months by 10
cents per home, Hansen said.

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