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Monday, August 28, 2006

Cable excess

NEWTON

Don't expect Mayor David Cohen to invite any Verizon executives for an evening of mojitos and "Project Runway" anytime soon.

In a sign that the spat between the city and the telecommunications giant over Verizon's bid to become the city's third cable service provider is alive and well, Cohen smacked the company around again at his press conference today.

Cohen accused Verizon officials of stalling negotiations while federal lawmakers debate a proposal to severely limit local control of cable providers, even as they blame the city for the delay.

"It is Verizonís procrastination and maneuvering for a more favorable foothold in Newton that has held up the process," Cohen said, according to a transcript of remarks released by the city. "While it is their right to await the federal outcome of this issue, it is disingenuous at best when they make public comments that blame the City for delaying their license."

Verizon has balked at meeting Newton's conditions for access -- including discounts for seniors, a contribution to the NewTV local access operation and a local office -- that govern current providers RCN and Comcast.

-- Ralph Ranalli

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