Sunshine, Adelphia in Rate Fight

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Adelphia Communications Corp. is threatening to block the sunshine from its south Florida subscribers — as in the Sunshine Network regional sports service.

The two sides are embroiled in a nasty battle over licensing fees that could see the service pulled by Dec. 31 from around 770,000 subscribers — mostly situated in the Palm Beach area.

Sunshine is seeking an unspecified increase over its current $1 to $1.15 fee from Adelphia, which ironically holds a 6 percent ownership interest in the network along with Cox Communications Inc. Fox Sports Net owns the remaining 94 percent.

The network, which airs Miami Heat National Basketball Association games and college programming from University of Florida and Florida State University, is currently in 5.7 million homes.

"We're continuing to talk and negotiate with Adelphia, and we hope to reach an amicable solution," said Fox Cable executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing Lindsay Gardner.

Representatives from Adelphia did not return calls by press time. But Adelphia director of governmental and community affairs Chick Blaine was quoted in the Palm Beach Post
as stating that the MSO is hopeful that a deal could be reached.

"Even if there is a possibility a channel is going to be dropped, we have to give 30 days' notice," he told the newspaper. "We're still negotiating with them."

Sunshine last week ran a newspaper ad urging viewers to call a toll-free number that offers the option of connecting callers to Adelphia's customer service representatives.