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Robbins on regs

Get the government to regulate cable sports networks? Cox Communications Inc. CEO Jim
Robbins said no.

Although Robbins said tiering expensive sports networks or selling them a la
carte would ease pressure on basic rates, he told a National Show crowd
two weeks ago that he opposes a government mandate to do so.

"I have been very careful to suggest that the answer lies in private
negotiations," he said.

Still, at a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing on cable prices, Sen.
John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked Robbins: "If you believe that a la carte or multitiered
pricing would benefit consumers ... do you believe that Congress should mandate

Robbins' response" "I'd like to see the marketplace work, and if the
marketplace isn't working, then we are in a position where we're going to have a
train wreck, and I would not like to see a train wreck."

A Cox spokeswoman said there was no conflict between the two statements, and
Robbins would not be the first to navigate a peripatetic linguistic course
around a tough congressional question.

Another cable executive's take was that Robbins didn't quite suggest
regulation, "but it's as close as you can get to not saying it but sounding like
you mean it."