FCC gets rural-rollout review


As policymakers struggle to find ways to encourage the rollout of broadband
Internet services to rural and other high-cost areas, executives from seven
cable companies briefed Federal Communications Commission members and staff
Monday on their companies' efforts to bring high-speed-data services to
customers outside of metropolitan areas.

The executives told the commissioners continuing the rollout depended on a
stable regulatory environment.

Translated into specific policy issues, the cable executives' message was a
plea for regulators to resist expanding broadcasters' digital-carriage rights
and to keep cable providers free of open-access requirements.

Each executive detailed his company's efforts to date.

Mediacom Communications Corp., for example, invested $280 million in 2001 to
bring broadband services to its 1.6 million customers, 85 percent of which are
in franchises with fewer than 2,000 subscribers in communities in 23