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Cable Execs Differ on ISP Choice

Newport, R.I. -- On a key issue facing cable, two industry leaders here
agreed to disagree.

William Schleyer, president and CEO of AT&T Broadband, said his company
has embraced multiple Internet-service providers as a solid business model,
pointing to recent deals with EarthLink Inc. in Seattle and Massachusetts.

'We are very supportive of ... an open-ISP model. We want to bring more
companies into our network and have them lease part of our capacity,' Schleyer

But Tom Rutledge, president of Cablevision Systems Corp.'s New York-area
mega-cluster, said he fails to see the business upside in multiple ISPs and his
company hasn't gone beyond the trial stage with AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America
Online Inc. unit as a result.

'We have not yet, as a business proposition, found that multiple ISPs
actually create additional value,' Rutledge said. 'How the model works is not
exactly clear to us going forward.'

Schleyer and Rutledge shared the dais here at the New England Cable &
Telecommunications Association convention with Kenneth Ferree, chief of the
Federal Communications Commission's Media Bureau. The agency is expected to
decide early next year whether to require cable operators to carry multiple

Business issues aside, Schleyer predicted that many cable companies would
adopt his position on multiple ISPs, 'if not by choice, then by Ken's edicts,

Ferree said his team was still trying to craft a regulatory model for
cable-modem service.

'I can't even begin to give you a glimpse of what that regulatory model might
look like. It's not Olympic ice skating, where the results are preordained,' he