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Irvine Needs More Cable Providers

March 22, 1992

Irvine's cable television franchise is up for renewal, but Irvine residents aren't going to hear very much about the renewal process. The Irvine Co. owns Irvine's cable television system, and the last thing the company wants is public discussion, scrutiny and controversy surrounding the re-franchising process. The City Council plans to renew the Irvine Co.'s franchise for as long as 25 years.

Regardless of the company's intentions and the city's process, the Cable Communications Act of 1984 gives citizens the right to voice their complaints and suggestions to local officials during the re-franchising process. Speak up now, for it may be decades before you have another opportunity.

The greatest cable television need in Irvine is for market competition among service and program providers. There's no technological or market reason why Irvine should not have multiple cable systems competing for the business of Irvine consumers.

In the absence of municipal authority to regulate rates, the only way to keep rates low and service quality high is to let the free market work through head-to-head competition among cable providers for customer dollars.

Since 1990 the rhetoric of Irvine's City Council has been decidedly pro-market. Now is the time for the council to match its market rhetoric with decisive market action.

MARK P. PETRACCA, Irvine

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