Agreement reached in Cox/Fairfax fiber flap


It looks like Cox Communications Inc. of Fairfax County, Va., will be keeping its franchise.
The county in July had threatened to revoke the franchise if the MSO didn't
produce a plan by next week detailing how it was going to complete its fiber
upgrade by May 2003, one year after its initial deadline.

Cox had countered that the ongoing delay was, in part, the government's fault
for refusing to let it put above-ground pedestals on public land.

It will ultimately be up to the board of supervisors, but according to a
source with knowledge of the negotiations, county staffers and Cox executives
have struck a deal that will be presented to the board Monday, which is
expected to approve it.

The plan gives Cox a little more time to complete the upgrade and wire the
county's schools -- the source said Cox told the county it could not meet the
May 2003 deadline.

The new deadline will likely be somewhere between May 2003 and the end of the
year. Cox has agreed to bury most of the pedestals on public rights-of-way and
put most above-ground equipment on private land.

Cox declined comment.

The board had voted to fine the company $2,000 per day if it did not meet the
May 31, 2003, deadline, holding the money in escrow to be returned only if that
deadline were met.

Instead, Cox will likely get all of the money back if the new deadline is met.

"We need to put the past behind us and work together to get this done,"
one county official said.

Had the two sides not come to terms, the board had said it was prepared to
abridge or revoke the franchise.