Commentary

Letters

Page 3 of 3

Wynne Dimock
Denver

The Cable Fable
There are several errors in your July 9 Off Limits regarding the AT&T/TCI merger (Off Limits, July 9) that TCI of Colorado would like the opportunity to correct. The suggestion that cable prices would "double or triple" under the merged company is ill-advised, given the continued regulation of Basic prices by local governments and Expanded Basic prices by the FCC. Also, cable faces competition from a number of satellite delivery services, as well as every other news, information and entertainment provider.

The reference to "monopoly contracts" fails to recognize that cable franchises are non-exclusive. Other providers may seek franchises from the cities TCI serves, and many other competitors vie to service apartment complexes and other customers. With regard to your question of whether "...it is in fact possible to channel phone service over stone-age cable lines," the answer is again readily available. As stated at the announcement of the merger, our combined companies intend to significantly accelerate the upgrading of the cable infrastructure, enabling us to begin providing digital telephone and data services to customers. Further, an accelerated upgrade program is well on its way in the Denver metropolitan area.

The TCI Boulder franchise upgrade was postponed because a negotiated franchise agreement with the city was not approved. As stated above, the upgrade of the metropolitan Denver network, including Boulder, is now in full stride. Dramatic service improvements to the entire Denver system plant were completed in November 1997, through the addition of 36 new channels via TCI's Digital Cable system.

As an alternative to the stereotypical characterization of cable customer relations as "tanked," a modicum of journalistic enterprise would reveal that our customer-service phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our phones are answered within thirty seconds ninety percent of the time, and TCI's service technicians arrive on time for service appointments an average of 95 percent of the time. Additionally, TCI recently responded to customer requests by adding both Comedy Central and WGN to its local cable channel lineup. You may also recall that we recently added Disney Channel, formerly a premium option, to Expanded Basic service.

In addition to these facts, Westword missed an opportunity to better serve its readers through a fair review of the promise of better products and competitive local telephone service that will finally result from this extraordinary partnership.

Joseph Stackhouse
Denver Metro Area Manager
TCI of Colorado

A Keen Edge
Thanks so much for Michael Roberts's article about Robert Earl Keen ("Keen Thinking," July 23). I have been a fan of his for about four years. He is a great musician and a really nice guy. I have seen him many times in concert and thoroughly enjoyed each one. I recently moved to Colorado from Texas, and it is nice to read about a Texas musician who is not well-known in the music industry.

The concert where I met Robert Earl Keen was in Lubbock. After the show was over, he sat down, signed autographs and just hung out with his fans. He didn't restrict this to fan-club members, as many other artists do. This really impressed me and made me respect him even more. He is a great guy and deserves all of the success he can get. I wish him the best and hope that some day he will make it to Durango. I would be first in line for a ticket! After all: "The road goes on forever and the party never ends!"

Cathy Brandes
Durango

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Denver, CO 80217
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