Boston Electric Co. Fiber Allowed

Boston Electric Co. Fiber Allowed

In an oral ruling from the bench, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf refused to issue a preliminary injunction sought by Cablevision against Boston Edison`s joint venture with RCN Corp. and against the city of Boston. Cablevision had charged that Edison-RCN was improperly using Edison`s cables and conduits to build a communications network while the city looked the other way. Wolf accepted Edison`s explanation, supported by the city, that it had not misled city officials about its intentions.

Cablevision, Boston`s cable provider for two decades, disputed the ruling but did not say whether it would appeal or take its case to trial. “The decision on the preliminary injunction is wrong on the facts and the law,” the company said in a prepared statement. Cablevision said the ruling actually serves to undermine the competition encouraged by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 by giving Edison, with its 10-year-old fiber-optic network, an unfair advantage. Cablevision, whose underground cables were installed before Edison`s fiber-optic network, is now upgrading its system to offer Internet and phone service as well as cable television.

Cablevision gained a measure of consolation from the judge`s assertion that Edison must offer the cable company access to its fiber-optic network on terms as favorable as those provided to the venture with RCN. Cablevision`s suit alleges that Edison acted anti-competitively and with stealth in using its fiber-optic network to wire the city for cable television, Internet and telephone services. n

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