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Shot Down in Maine

Houlton, Maine -- No high-speed access, no renewal:
That's how the vote went down in this small Maine town, where 1,800 Houlton Cable
customers are clamoring for better connections.

Regulators voted 4-2 Feb. 28 to seek bids from other
providers, rather than renewing the franchise for the longtime local operator. YEPSK Inc.
of Yarmouth, Maine, owns Houlton Cable.

Town council members did not return calls. According to
reports, discussions broke down over technology issues.

A report by the cable operator indicated that the system
would have to negotiate installation of a T-1 line, cut a deal with an Internet-service
provider and hire extra personnel to make a high-speed venture work. Given the upfront
cost, the operator would hemorrhage money, even with 15 percent penetration.

Houlton Cable can resubmit a proposal.