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VALLEY PERSPECTIVE

Cable Competition

February 11, 2001

* Re "Cable 'Overbuild' Puts Choice in Hands of Consumers," Valley Perspective, Jan. 21.

Councilman Alex Padilla is right to advocate consumer protection and healthy competition in the introduction of new technologies and services but underestimates the importance of the quality of competition in the introduction of these new technologies.

The councilman seems to feel that any new entry into the cable television and high-speed data arena is a good thing. Residents of Los Angeles should view this "anyone-but-the-cable-companies" position with a healthy degree of skepticism.

Cable companies in Los Angeles have a history of fiscal responsibility and a track record of meeting technological goals and deadlines. Many new entrants in the field have questionable experience and financial resources to deliver on their promises. As an example, in the past few weeks in San Diego, one of the providers Padilla touts ultimately reneged on their commitment because of lack of capital. In another case a few years ago, a much better financed overbuilder (Pacific Bell) caused residents of Granada Hills to see their streets trenched, vaults placed in their yards and traffic disrupted for months, only to abandon the project.

Cable television was born of competition: better picture quality, more choice, dependable service. By all means, bring on the competition, but please make sure all competitors, new and old, are held to the same high standards for financial responsibility, technical competency and community service.

ERIC BROWN

Vice President, General Manager

Time Warner Communications

Northern Region L.A. Division

*

When Padilla sends out the call for new players in the cable industry, I hope he will work in his position as chair of the city's Information Technology Committee to ensure that the new arrivals put as much into our communities socially as they hope to take away financially. Our local cable company, Time Warner, has been a dependable, enthusiastic supporter of our programs for youth and families through their commitment of financial and technological resources as well as human capital as volunteers and board members. They have been very supportive to the YMCA.

JANE STANTON

Executive Director

North Valley YMCA

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