Miami Approves AT&T-Comcast Transfer

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The Miami City Council voted Thursday to approve the transfer of its AT&T
Broadband franchise to Comcast Corp., but it added strict terms for
customer-service reporting and payments for outstanding violations.

According to the city's special counsel, Matt Leibowitz, AT&T Broadband
agreed to pay $550,000 for missing the construction deadline for an upgrade of
90 percent of the city. The operator will now have until 2006 to complete the
remaining 10 percent of work.

The city said the cable operator will pay $390,000 in return for the extended
schedule.

The parties will work together to halt customer complaints. The company will
pay a $72,000 penalty to resolve existing customer-care lapses, and AT&T
Broadband will designate one technical liaison and one management liaison to the
city to handle the most difficult complaints.

The company will also meet quarterly with the city report on service issues.
And the operator will better publicize the fact that customers can get credits
for service outages, but they must request them.

It will also try to find sites for more bill-paying centers.

AT&T Broadband will adopt new proceedings for consumer-dispute resolution
and present them to the city for approval. The MSO has compelled consumers to
accept mandatory arbitration, which regulators across the country
oppose.

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