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Local Victory! RCN pays CAN TV $645,000 + interest

RCN ends default – pays CAN TV press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary Stack
September 4, 2002 312.738.1400
Mstack (at) cantv.org

RCN ends default – pays CAN TV

Following protests by hundreds of Chicago residents and multiple hearings before the City of Chicago Committee on Finance, CAN TV’s eight month long dispute with RCN is near resolution. On September 3, 2002, CAN TV received $645,000 plus interest due since January 7, 2002 for Cable Areas 2, 3 and 4. The payment arrived one day before the Chicago City Council was expected to pass a resolution calling for daily penalties of RCN in the amount of $750 per franchise violation per area. Upon being notified of CAN TV’s payment, resolution sponsor 50th Ward Alderman Bernard Stone withheld the resolution.

In the beginning of 2002, RCN sought relief from the City of Chicago on its obligations to construct a cable system in Cable Areas 2, 3 and 4 in addition to seeking relief on its CAN TV payments for those areas. The company claims that the “telecom meltdown” halted its ability to move forward with its construction plans. RCN has not sought relief for its existing franchise in Cable Area 1.

The City of Chicago has been in discussions with RCN and CAN TV for months in relation to RCN’s future activity. Agreement has been reached in principal by all of the parties calling for RCN to honor its commitments in two cable areas while suspending activity in two.

RCN plans to move forward in Cable Area 2, which is located to the north and near west, adjacent to RCN’s Cable Area 1 franchise along the lakefront. The City of Chicago will suspend RCN’s activities in Cable Areas 3 and 4 during a one-year period in hopes that the company will remain as cable competitors in the future. As part of the suspension, RCN will engage in no activities to build or market a cable system and will relinquish its customers in those areas. CAN TV will defer RCN’s payment obligations for Areas 3 and 4 during the suspension period.

Says CAN TV Executive Director, Barbara Popovic, “We are thankful that CAN TV can now move forward after a challenging year. The payment from RCN gets us back on track with meeting our commitments to the public.” Asked how the suspension of two of RCN’s areas will affect CAN TV’s budget in the future, Popovic responded, “The absence of those payments will reduce CAN TV’s 2003 budget by $400,000. We can transition to that more gradually thanks to receiving this year’s payment in full.”

CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing video training, facilities, equipment and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. Cable channels CAN TV19, 21, 27, 36 and 42 reach more than one million viewers in the city of Chicago. For more information call (312) 738-1400 or go to www.cantv.org.
 
 

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