Cities, county challenge Charter
The cities of Reno, Sparks and
Carson City, along with Washoe County, have filed an opposition to a Charter
Communications petition that could lead to deregulation.
Charter has filed a demonstration of equal competition petition with the
Federal Communications Commission. That petition, if approved, would exempt
the company from state and local regulation
To demonstrate equal competition, Charter must show that 15 percent or
more of the residences in the coverage area receive their television services
from a different multi-channel video programming distributor.
Charter has argued that two satellite dish services - Direct TV, Inc.
and EchoStar Communications - each have 15 percent of the market. City
officials like David Creekman with the Sparks city attorney's office aren't
"We are questioning the validity of the statistics on which Charter
relied," he said. "We want to make sure that there really is
That's why the cities and county joined together to file an opposition
in response to Charter's claim. In fact, the cities are challenging all
of the numbers Charter used in their assessment.
"We're questioning all of the figures," Creekman said. "The
number of subscribers, residences, the whole nine yards."
If the petition is approved, Creekman said it would be possible for Charter
to charge people different prices from the same services. For example,
customers on one side of Sparks could be charged more than people on the
other side of Sparks for the same cable packages.
There could also be cable packages offered to one group of customers but
not the other.
"That's the effect of not being under local control," Creekman
The cities would continue to receive franchise fees from Charter even
if the petition is approved.
It is unclear when the FCC will rule on the petition.
Copyright © 2004 Daily Sparks Tribune
Logos TM Sparks Tribune LLC
Used by permission