Op of Year Robbins: No Regrets on AT&T

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Cox Communications Inc. CEO Jim Robbins last week said he doesn't regret the fact that his MSO wasn't able to strike a deal to acquire AT&T Broadband, which is merging with Comcast Corp.

"We took our best shot and we didn't win, and in hindsight we're not unhappy," Robbins said at a Washington Metropolitan Cable Club luncheon on Oct. 22, where he accepted the Multichannel News
Operator of the Year award on Cox's behalf. With stock prices currently at low levels, Cox isn't looking to buy or sell systems, he said.

"I think we'll hold the course" and focus on executing company initiatives, Robbins said.

In an interview with MCN
editor-in-chief Marianne Paskowski, Robbins also said he wasn't concerned about the influence that the post-merger AT&T Comcast Corp. would have on cable-industry policy decisions, such as initiatives concerning digital television.

"I think [Comcast CEO] Brian [Roberts] will do what's right for the customer," Robbins said .

Robbins also said he wasn't concerned about a direct-broadcast satellite venture Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Chuck Dolan is working on. While Robbins called Dolan "brilliant," the Cox CEO added, "I don't understand that strategy."

Robbins also noted that Cox's video, voice and telephony "three-trick pony" will help it stave off competition from satellite. Answering a question about phone service, Robbins said Cox has already announced it will expand voice service to an undisclosed additional market, but he declined to say which one.

And Robbins registered the hope that legislators and regulators would avoid the impulse to impose a new "heavy hand" on the industry.

"I would urge policy makers that are in the room to just bear in mind that it does take risk capital to drive the business, to provide competition in American households to the telephone company or whatever the other competitor might be," he said.

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