AT&T cable unit gains rate reg relief


AT&T's Boston cable franchise is free of local rate regulation, thanks to an FCC decision Friday.

Regulators said overbuilder RCN, which offers 84 channels and is obligated by its franchise agreement to serve 90% of Boston within 3 ½ years, provides sufficient competition to justify relieving AT&T of basic tier rate regulation. Boston officials opposed the change, arguing that RCN's buildout is not yet sufficient to pose widespread competition.

The FCC countered that only three Boston neighborhoods are yet to receive RCN service. The application to eliminate the rate oversight was filed in 1997 by Cablevision Systems, which sold the franchise to AT&T in April 2000.
- Bill McConnell