Citing a state law passed five years ago, Cox Cable has sued the City of San Diego to end an agreement that allows the city to regulate the cable company's rates.
Christopher Q. Britton, a Cox attorney, said Thursday he did not know why the company waited so long to ask for the deregulation. But Britton said the suit was filed only after Cox failed to persuade city officials that the 1980 law allows Cox to unilaterally deregulate rates in San Diego.
A cable company industry official in California who did not want to be identified said Cox is within its rights to "deregulate itself."
But the official said that only about 25% of the subscribers in the state are served by cable systems with deregulated rates. He said that most cable companies are waiting for a federal law to take effect in December, 1986, when cable television will be deregulated throughout the United States.