Who's First for WINfirst?

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Multiple contenders have surfaced as white knights for bankrupt overbuilder
WINfirst.

Two companies received conditional cable licenses Thursday for the city of
Sacramento, Calif. -- the only community where WINfirst actually began
construction and is serving customers.

Rich Esposto, director of the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission, said
the licenses are contingent on the applicant's acquisition of WINfirst's assets.
(Unlike other cities, Sacramento has a simple licensing procedure, and not
franchises, for all operators.)

The contenders are the previously identified SureWest Communications, the
state's third-largest competitive local-exchange carrier; and Orange Broadband,
identified by the city as a group of investors from JPMorgan Partners, M/C
Venture Partners and Columbia Capital.

SureWest already provides broadband services in the Sacramento suburbs, and
the major Orange Broadband investors are current investors in the bankrupt
operator.

If one of the new licensees were successful in acquiring WINfirst's assets,
it would compete with incumbent AT&T Broadband, which has more than 500,000
customers in the state's capital.

During the same cable commission meeting, the city and county agency delayed
consideration of transfer of ownership of the AT&T system to AT&T
Comcast Corp. The commission still needs more information on the merger before
it will vote on the issue.

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