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FCC Reduces Cable TV Rates

Reduction Will Likely Have Little Affect on Students' Costs

The cable rate cuts ordered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week will have negligible impact on Harvard subscribers in the immediate future, according to the University's cable sever.

The FCC ordered cable companies Tuesday to reduce their rates by an average of 7 percent. The move followed a 5.9 percent cut last year that federal regulators called inadequate.

Students who subscribe to cable said they are pleased by the possibility of a rate cut, but they did not anticipate upgrading their cable packages because of it.

"It's good if I have to pay less," said a De Wolfe resident with cable access.

Most Harvard students won't notice the difference, however, because they lack access to cable in their dorm rooms. Many o those who have access choose not to use it.

James D. Ebenhoh '94, a De Wolfe resident with cable access, said he doesn't use the service because "being students, we don't really watch T.V."

In fact, the rate reduction may not even go into effect. Continental Cable, which serves the Harvard campus, plans to join with other cable companies to file an appeal.

"As an industry we will win," said Anthony Price, marketing director of Continental Cablevision. "We set our rates on the FCC benchmarks and we feel we've been fair and just."

And even if they survive appeals by cable companies, the new regulations will have only a limited effect. Rates will drop for basic cable service and expanded cable service, but not for premium services like HBO, Showtime and Pay-Per-View.

With so much still to be decided, it is unclear whether Harvard cable subscribers will reap any benefits if the federally-mandated rate cut it approved.

"You might see [price] change, but you might not," said Norma Easterday, a customer service representative of Continental Cable.

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