MARCUS CABLE HOLDINGS, LLC AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS -- (CONTINUED)
the years ended December 31, 1998, 1997 and 1996, the Company made contributions
to the plan of $765, $761 and $480, respectively.
(12) COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
The Company leases certain facilities and equipment under noncancelable
operating leases. Lease and rental costs charged to expense for the years ended
December 31, 1998, 1997 and 1996 were $3,394, $3,230, and $2,767, respectively.
The Company also rents utility poles in its operations. Generally, pole rentals
are cancelable on short notice, but the Company anticipates that such rentals
will recur. Rent expense for pole attachments for the years ended December 31,
1998, 1997 and 1996 were $4,081, $4,314, and $4,008, respectively.
REGULATION IN THE CABLE TELEVISION INDUSTRY
The cable television industry is subject to extensive regulation at the
federal, local and, in some instances, state levels. The Cable Communications
Policy Act of 1984 (the "1984 Cable Act"), the Cable Television Consumer
Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (the "1992 Cable Act" and together with
the 1984 Cable Act, the "Cable Acts"), and the Telecommunications Act of 1996
(the "1996 Telecom Act"), establish a national policy to guide the development
and regulation of cable television systems. The Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) has principal responsibility for implementing the policies of
the Cable Acts. Many aspects of such regulation are currently the subject of
judicial proceedings and administrative or legislative proposals. Legislation
and regulations continue to change, and the Company cannot predict the impact of
future developments on the cable television industry.
The 1992 Cable Act and the FCC's rules implementing that act generally have
increased the administrative and operational expenses of cable television
systems and have resulted in additional regulatory oversight by the FCC and
local or state franchise authorities. The Cable Acts and the corresponding FCC
regulations have established rate regulations.
The 1992 Cable Act permits certified local franchising authorities to order
refunds of basic service tier rates paid in the previous twelve-month period
determined to be in excess of the maximum permitted rates. As of December 23,
1998, the amount returned by the Company has been insignificant. The Company may
be required to refund additional amounts in the future.
The Company believes that it has complied in all material respects with the
provisions of the 1992 Cable Act, including the rate setting provisions
promulgated by the FCC. However, in jurisdictions that have chosen not to
certify, refunds covering the previous twelve-month period may be ordered upon
certification if the Company is unable to justify its basic rates. The Company
is unable to estimate at this time the amount of refunds, if any, that may be
payable by the Company in the event certain of its rates are successfully
challenged by franchising authorities or found to be unreasonable by the FCC.
The Company does not believe that the amount of any such refunds would have a
material adverse effect on the financial position or results of operations of
The 1996 Telecom Act, among other things, immediately deregulated the rates
for certain small cable operators and in certain limited circumstances rates on
the basic service tier, and as of March 31, 1999, deregulates rates on the cable
programming service tier (CPST). The FCC is currently developing permanent
regulations to implement the rate deregulation provisions of the 1996 Telecom
Act. The Company cannot predict the ultimate effect of the 1996 Telecom Act on
the Company's financial position or results of operations.