Modesto OKs Settlement With Comcast

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The Modesto, Calif., City Council has approved a settlement between that city and Comcast Corp., ending a legal dispute over improper plant electrical grounding.

The pact was approved June 1 by a 6-0 vote.

Comcast agreed to complete an institutional network for the community; with the operator bearing the city’s cost of the project. The school district will also participate in the I-net, paying for its costs.

In addition to funding the city’s portion of the I-net — estimated to cost up to $3 million — Comcast will pay a $50,000 fine and contribute a total of $100,000 in youth recreation grants during the next two years. Comcast will receive a five-year extension of its current franchise, moving the expiration date to 2016.

Both sides also agreed to drop lawsuits.

Modesto had sought over $4 million in fines from the MSO after a 2003 report from an outside consultant indicated about 22,000 drops in the city violated national electrical safety codes. Comcast inherited the grounding problem when it acquired the system from AT&T Broadband. The operator asked for more time to fix the problems, but failed to sway the city. Comcast filed suit in federal court last June to challenge the “excessive” fine. Comcast cleaned up the majority of the electrical problems.

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