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Comcast Acquires Alameda Muni Operation For $15 Million

The Alameda, Calif., City Council has agreed to sell its municipal cable operation to Comcast Corp. for a price that nets out to $15 million.

The sale of the municipal operator, which serves 9,500 video and 6,600 data customers, takes effect Nov. 21.

The electric utility of the community, on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, added video services to its product package in 2001. However, the utility floated bonds to help pay for the construction and operation of the service. A balloon payment on those bonds, totalling $33 million, is due next June. City officials mulled various plans, including spending more money on the telecommunications operation in order to launch digital phone service, but in the end decided to seek a bidder to take over the plant.

Comcast is the dominant operator in the San Francisco Bay area and already provided competition to Alameda Power & Light's cable products. The commercial provider will take over operations of the cable plant soon, but data customers have been assured they will be able to keep their e-mail addresses for another 12 months.