Texas Show Looks for Stability


Despite industry consolidation and mergers, attendance
should remain stable for this year's Texas Show, according to the conference's

The state lost a locally based operator, Marcus Cable, to a
consolidation with Charter Communications, and some sizable Tele-Communications Inc.
systems were swapped with Time Warner Cable.

"The minds of many of those people are on the new
marriage. I think that they will spend time here getting to know the new people that
they're working with," said Bill Arnold, president of the Texas Cable &
Telecommunications Association.

The show runs this Wednesday through Friday (Feb. 24
through 26) in San Antonio. More than 2,200 people attended last year's show, an
increase of more than 300 from the 1997 affair.

Cable operators are relieved that basic nuts and bolts will
be the focus of the show, and not crisis aversion. The group's state legislative
priority is a chronic one -- upgrading and improving Texas' theft-of-service

Internet bundling is bound to be a topic for discussion,
but it is not as top-of-mind for Dallas. That city considered including some
open-cable-modem-platform language in its transfer of TCI properties to AT&T Corp.,
but it eventually broke ranks with its municipal brethren in Portland, Ore., and dropped
the issue from the docket, as did almost every other municipality.

For the past two years, the trade show has provided a forum
for National Cable Television Association president Decker Anstrom to speak on federal
issues, but he will not attend this year. Arnold said the state association issues an open
invitation to the NCTA chief, "and if he has a message, we make room."

Basic business issues ripe for discussion at this
year's gathering include year-2000 readiness and bucket-truck safety. And Internet
veterans will discuss their successes and errors with operators that have yet to jump on
the Web.

Among the speakers are Cable Telecommunications Association
(CATA) president Steve Effros (whose group is disbanding) and former cable-network and
operator executive Trygve Myhren.

The group's annual barbecue will be the venue for a
performance by Friends of the Desert.