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Cable Rate Changes

September 11, 1993

When Congress passed the Cable Act last year, it was with the promise that it would result in a 10% to 15% rate reduction nationwide. For most customers, this promised rate reduction was the main focus of the law. Across the board reductions were probably the original intent, but for many customers rate increases are the final result of the Federal Communication Commission's complex rate regulation formulas.

At Ventura County Cablevision, our new rate structure was determined by comparing our old rates to a "benchmark." The formula prohibits charging for extra TV connections and limits the charges for optional equipment. The FCC said it wanted to stop subsidizing basic rates by the practice of charging for these optional or extra items. The FCC recognized that this may drive basic rates up, but stated: "Since the vast majority of subscribers purchase more than one tier of cable service, (they) should see a net reduction in their monthly cable bills."

In September there was a rate decrease for most Ventura County Cablevision customers. However, for those "basic only" subscribers who have one television connected to cable, the FCC formula raises their rates and, therefore, their monthly bill. We can only conclude the FCC must have thought this was what Congress and the majority of the people wanted. Based on discussions I've had with some of my customers, I'm not sure the FCC is correct. But for the present their guidelines reflect the "law" passed last year.

We are doing our best to comply with it and will try to keep our customers informed.

DAVID T. LARUE

Westlake Village

David T. LaRue is president of Ventura County Cablevision

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