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RealTime IT News

AT&T, TCI Battle Portland Officials

AT&T Corp. and Tele-Communications Inc. told Portland, Ore., officials this week they don't plan to abide by a city ordinance requiring them to open TCI's cable system to other Internet providers.

AT&T, which is in the process of finalizing its $48 billion purchase of TCI, said it will comply with all provisions of an ordinance approving the transfer of TCI's cable system in Portland to AT&T with the exception of a requirement that other Internet providers be able to access TCI's cable network.

An AT&T spokesman said the company is balking against the provision because it believes the requirement is unlawful. AT&T and TCI maintain city governments have no authority to set rules using the open-access provision. The companies say that authority lies solely with the Federal Communications Commission or Congress.

AT&T is in the midst of getting local approvals for TCI franchise transfers in more than 900 cities across the country.

AT&T and TCI maintain requiring open access nationwide could jeopardize the TCI deal.