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Eenie, meenie, miney, mo

Wed, 12/13/2000 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

Sometimes choice is a difficult thing. AT&T is still struggling with which approach it should take to fulfill FCC requirements on cable ownership, even though the deadline to decide is tomorrow. Rumors are circulating wildly between either spinning off Liberty Media, the programming arm of AT&T that's headed by John Malone, or selling off AT&T's 25 percent stake in Time Warner.

Up to now, it looked like the Liberty spin-off would be the lesser of three evils (the third option is to sell off approximately 9 million subscribers), but Bloomberg News reports that AT&T may have finally reached some sort of accord with TW and will sell off its stake in that company as well.

When called for clarification, AT&T senior vice president of PR Rob Stoddard says, "We're not in a position to comment at this time."

AT&T agreed to implement one of the three options when the FCC approved the MediaOne Group acquisition in June 2000.

In other AT&T news, the company is asking several Western state local franchising authorities to waive cable modem fees.

AT&T is taking this tack because of the California federal court ruling determining cable modem service is not a cable service, but partly a telecom service and partly an information service. However, in May a Virginia federal court decided that it is in fact a cable service.

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