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Municipalities Weigh Former Adelphia System Buy

The board of commissioners of Mecklenberg County, N.C. will decide tonight (Aug. 14) whether to join two neighboring cities in their plans to buy the local cable systems once owned by Adelphia Communications Inc. and now operated by Time Warner Cable.

Authorities in the two towns, Davidson and Mooresville, voted Aug. 13 to exercise the rights, under their local franchise, to buy the system serving their towns. A third community, Cornelius, has agreed to assign its acquisition rights to a new municipal consortium called MI-Connection (for Mecklenberg and Iredell counties) that will operate the system with the help of an outside managing firm. The county government, too, is considering an assignment of rights.

When the North Carolina communities accepted Adelphia as their latest operator in 1998, they placed a clause in the local agreements that would let the local governments bid to buy the system, should it change hands again. They cited that language when Adelphia filed for bankruptcy. 

Originally, other cities intended to participate in the purchase, but Troutman and Huntersville officials voted to opt out of a purchase.

The communities, which estimate the municipal system will launch with 10,500 inherited customers, will pay $3,810 per subscriber, a price set by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on May 16.

Mecklenberg's board will decide whether to assign its 1,500 to 2,000 customers to the authority of the cable consortium.