LFAs Question Comcast’s Rates

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Comcast Corp. may have to appeal rate-rollback orders from regulators representing more than 1 million of its customers.

Those local franchising authorities have acted on an audit report by Front Range Consulting Inc. and Aspaugh & Sculco CPAs, which analyzed Comcast's national Form 1205 rate filings. The report concluded that the MSO's formulation -- which sets rates using a national formula, rather than a market-by-market formula -- resulted in rates for equipment and installations that are too high.

The report was commissioned by the LFAs, questioning rates that went into effect last July. Those LFAs have until April 1 to approve the report, and most have as of Thursday. Still awaiting action are Montgomery County, Md., and Los Angeles.

Sarah Hackett -- senior communications analyst for the Metropolitan Cable Communications Commission in Washington County, Ore., which unanimously approved the audit findings -- said her group hopes to negotiate a resolution of the rate issue, rather than having the dispute vetted by the Federal Communications Commission.

But Comcast spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said the MSO will likely appeal all of the rate orders to the FCC in May after all of the LFAs have a chance to act. He added that more than 700 communities across the country approved the 2004 rates, which were set in accordance with federal guidelines.

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