Copyright 2003 The Tribune Co. Publishes The Tampa Tribune

Tampa Tribune (Florida)

November 7, 2003, Friday, FINAL EDITION

Bright House Networks' shelved plan to offer telephone service over cable connections is back on.

Kevin Hyman, Tampa Bay division president for Bright House, said Thursday the company is developing a business plan for offering phone service, but he declined to say when.

In July 2002, Bright House, known then as Time Warner Cable, canned a rollout of telephone service in Tampa and Orlando. At the time, the company launched or planned such services as video-on-demand, multiple high-speed Internet service providers and digital video recorders. The company chose to support those products with marketing and other resources, instead of telephone.

If and when Bright House starts telephone service, it wants to make sure customer service and other support elements are in place to provide a service that competes for customers, Hyman said.

"We were within a whisper of launching it two years ago," he said during an interview Thursday. "It is a lot closer to the right time than it was two years ago."

Hyman declined to be specific about a time frame for launching telephone service or pricing. Bright House, the region's dominant cable service, has 967,000 cable customers in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Hernando, Citrus and Manatee counties.