Consumer groups say keep cable caps


Consumer advocates Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America and Media Access Project asked the Senate not to pass an amendment that would lift the cap on cable ownership and allow AT & T to keep all the cable holdings it acquired when it merged with Media One.

"For AT & T now to be asking Congress to change the rules through a last-minute backroom deal is a serious abuse of its political clout," the advocates wrote. "By granting AT & T's plea, Congress would nearly guarantee higher cable rates and fewer choices for millions of American consumers."

Senate Appropriations Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is said to be considering offering legislation that would allow AT & T to get under the cap. AT & T says it is talking to members of Congress about the ownership cap, but hasn't commented on any legislation.