Jerry Kent said his recent decision to buy an optical-network company with a
national footprint could help MSOs to avoid federal program-access laws.
Last month, Kent's CEQUEL III agreed to buy Broadwing Inc. in a partnership
with Corvis Corp. Broadwing can distribute cable networks over its optical lines
to 150 markets.
Federal law forces MSOs to sell their satellite-delivered networks to
EchoStar Communications Corp. and DirecTV Inc. But since Broadwing is a
terrestrial service, cable networks riding on the platform would be exempt from
"It has great potential for the cable industry," Kent, the former Charter
Communications Inc. CEO, said Wednesday at an A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc.
conference in Las Vegas. "The cable industry can develop its own programming and
deliver it via our Broadwing network and take programming exclusivity."
Broadwing could trigger a fight in Washington, D.C., where consumer groups
and the direct-broadcast satellite industry are always looking for signs that
cable might be trying to skirt program-access laws.