Internet Ventures Inc. plans to file a complaint with
officials in Grants Pass, Ore., over Falcon Cable TV Corp.'s refusal to provide
leased-access carriage on its local network.
IVI president Don Janke said the turnkey Internet-service
provider will ask city regulators to use their franchising authority to force Falcon to
abide by leased-access requirements contained in the amended Communications Act of 1934.
The MSO disregarded those regulations by refusing to
provide IVI with rates, sample contracts and other information concerning leased-access
availability at its Grants Pass system, the company said.
IVI had applied for carriage on Falcon's network in
order to provide its "PeRKInet" high-speed Internet-access service.
But unlike ISPs that are pushing to unbundle cable's
broadband pipe, IVI cited Federal Communications Commission rules that it said allow
unaffiliated programmers to apply for leased-access carriage, with payment to the cable
operator set by a predetermined formula.
However, Janke said that in a written response dated Feb.
12, Falcon declined to provide the requested information, arguing that federal
leased-access rules apply only to video programming.
In a prepared statement, Art Maulsby, Falcon's
director of public relations, said the company "believes that Internet-service
providers do not qualify for leased access under the Cable Act, and the matter has been
turned over to our attorneys for review."
Meanwhile, IVI dropped plans to file a similar complaint
against GTE Corp. last week after the local-exchange carrier responded to an information
request concerning its 40,000-subscriber cable system in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
"They've substantially provided all of the
information that we wanted," Janke said. "We wouldn't pound on the table
over what isn't there."
IVI must now formally request leased-access carriage on
Based on the details provided by GTE, Janke said, the
Thousand Oaks system has 14 channels available for leased access. Under federal
regulations, the cost to IVI for a single channel would run about $9,300 per year, he
Elsewhere, IVI recently announced that Tele-Communications
Inc. had rejected its request for carriage on TCI's system in Spokane, Wash.
TCI, which became AT&T Broadband & Internet
Services March 9, said federal law does not obligate it to give access to ISPs, "and
we are not willing to do so," according to a Feb. 18 letter from Spokane general
manager Kenneth Watts to IVI.
IVI has also asked AT&T Broadband to provide it with
leased access in Durango, Colo., but the MSO has not indicated whether it will reject that
request, as well.
Janke contended that cable's interpretation of the
federal leased-access provisions is too narrow, and that ISPs should be allowed to use
cable plant for providing high-speed service to their customers.
"We're not asking that the FCC or Congress
establish new regulations," Janke said. "We're only asking that current
regulations be applied."