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United Cable Granted Extension to Mid-1988 for East Valley System

June 26, 1986|RICHARD SIMON | Times Staff Writer

United Cable Television received tentative Los Angeles City Council approval Wednesday for a third extension--until June 30, 1988--to complete installation of the long-delayed East San Fernando Valley cable system.

The action, approved unanimously and without discussion, was recommended by the city Department of Telecommunications, which regulates cable TV in the city. The department said in a report to the council that, although the extension is unprecedented, it should be granted in order to give residents a "reasonable expectation" of when they can get cable service.

Councilman Ernani Bernardi, who has been critical of the delays in providing cable to his Van Nuys district, supported the extension. "We don't have much choice," he said, noting that it would take longer to reopen bidding on the cable franchise and to award it to another company.

5,000 Homes Have Service

Bernardi said he believes that United Cable is "moving along at a pretty good pace now."

United has installed about 275 miles of the 1,140-mile system and has begun service to about 5,000 of the 176,000 homes in the East Valley. The first homes to receive service are in Pacoima, Mission Hills, Sylmar and Arleta, communities close to the company's transmission facility in San Fernando.

United originally was supposed to complete the system in December, 1985, but the company received two extensions that pushed the completion back until July, 1987.

Without the new extension, United would have faced thousands of dollars in fines, in addition to those levied earlier, for failing to meet deadlines previously imposed by the City Council for completing segments of the system.

The company has appealed $186,200 in fines for failing to have 270 miles of cable installed by Jan. 31.

United Cable officials have said they are confident they can meet the new schedule because of arrangements with the city Department of Water and Power for the stringing of cable on utility poles. United Cable officials blamed its earlier delays on the DWP's failure to give quicker approval for such stringing.

The council action Wednesday was to instruct the city attorney to draft an ordinance granting the third delay. The ordinance still must come back before the council for a vote, but approval is considered routine.

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