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Press Release

Dueling for TV customers


Comcast Corp. said Monday it would fight to protect its cable stronghold in Colorado, as Denver-based Qwest moves to offer TV service in and around its hometown. Qwest's television initiative comes a week after Comcast rolled out its Digital Voice telephone service in the metro area, where Qwest is the dominant provider. It's part of a nationwide battle over phone, Internet and television services between phone and cable companies. For consumers, it means the possibility of more choices in all those services. "It's the glory of the free market to have more choice. We'll see if they deliver," analyst Donna Jaegers said. Scott Binder, senior vice president for Comcast Colorado, said if Qwest wants to match Comcast's franchise agreements with individual cities and offer video, "we welcome that competition." But he said Qwest shouldn't be allowed to "cherry pick" which homes it offers service to. Comcast must provide the same service to all homes where it has a franchise agreement. Qwest, the dominant telephone provider in 14 Midwestern and Western states including Colorado, is in the process of negotiating a model franchise agreement with the Greater Metro Telecommunications Consortium, a group of 32 metro Denver communities. Although franchise agreements must be approved by individual municipalities, the GMTC agreement would serve as a model for all of them.