The AT&T Broadband-Comcast Corp. merger cleared a hurdle when Portland,
Ore., commissioners approved the transfer of AT&T Broadband's cable
franchise to the new entity by a 4-0 vote.
Portland was the community that opened the open-access controversy during its
last major transfer.
As it did in the Tele-Communications Inc.-AT&T Corp. transfer hearing,
Portland sought concessions in exchange for this approval. But unlike the TCI
proceeding, the issues were local.
In order to gain approval for the transfer, Portland contracted with the
merged company to connect local governments and school buildings via a wide-area
network. The institutional network had been a part of AT&T Broadband's
franchise, but the parties were unable to reach an agreement on use payments,
Portland cable director David Olson said.
During the hearing, AT&T Broadband regional communications director Debra
Luppold said the company still challenges the legality of municipal demands on
infrastructure capacity, adding that it and others may someday challenge such
demands in court.