The FCC last week upheld a $1.5 million fine against Bartholdi Cable in New York city and the denial of 15 licenses to serve Manhattan buildings with
so-called 'satellite cable' service.
An administrative law judge found in 1998 that Bartholdi, formerly known as Liberty Cable, had begun serving 92 of its 126 buildings without first obtaining
FCC approval between 1992 and 1995.
'Liberty's violations were in such total and reckless disregard of its obligations as a commission licensee . . . as to be tantamount to intentional
misconduct,' the FCC said.
The extent of Liberty's transgressions came to light after New York's main cable franchises Time Warner and Cablevision complained about unlicensed service
to two downtown buildings.
The FCC was particularly angered by Liberty's failure to identify all the
buildings that received unlicensed service, which the company initially said was
only 15 soon after the investigation began.
Bartholdi is a bitter rival of Time Warner. Its previous owners negotiated a
$90 million settlement from the cable giant earlier this year as the price of
dropping a lawsuit charging the media conglomerate of abusive tactics such as
Time Warner employees allegedly threatening to toss Liberty technicians off a