RCN Defaults on CAN TV Payment

Posted by Mitchell - January 17, 2004 (entry 136)

January 16, 2003

Contact: Allan Gomez

On January 7, 2004, RCN defaulted on a $215,000 payment to CAN TV for cable area 2. This is the second major default on a CAN TV payment in two years' time. In addition, RCN is refusing to follow the terms of the City of Chicago's amendment to the cable areas 3 & 4 franchise agreements approved just over a year ago which calls for RCN to enter good faith negotiations with the City following a temporary suspension of operation in those two areas. This amendment followed months of negotiations between RCN and the City of Chicago after RCN defaulted in its area 2, 3 & 4 obligations to both the City and CAN TV - including a failure to make payments under agreements with CAN TV of $645,000. This amount was paid in full with interest in September of 2002 after 8 months of public protest.

RCN points to a bad economy as the reason it wants to pull out of cable areas 3 & 4. In addition to pulling out of those two areas, RCN is attempting to halt construction in cable area 2 and is seeking to drastically reduce its funding obligation to CAN TV in that area. The total funding at stake is one fourth of the annual budget for CAN TV, Chicago's only public access outlet. Chicago residents face the loss of cable competition in three out of five cable areas in Chicago, which will lead to a monopoly in Chicago's cable market.

CAN TV Executive Director Barbara Popovic states, "This default by RCN shortchanges the public. Any citizen will tell you that despite difficult economic times they are expected to meet their payment obligations. RCN made a commitment to the public. It needs to honor that commitment."

Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV) gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing live call-in programs, 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 a million viewers in the City of Chicago. CAN TV will provide regular updates on the RCN default at www.cantv.org/rcn or residents can call (312) 738-1400.

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