MARCUS CABLE COMPANY, L.L.C. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS -- (CONTINUED)
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 Company.
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.
The FCC may further restrict the ability of cable television operators to
implement rate increases or the United States Congress may enact legislation
that could delay or suspend the scheduled March 1999 termination of CPST rate
regulation. This continued rate regulation, if adopted, could limit the rates
charged by the Company.
A number of states subject cable television systems to the jurisdiction of
centralized state governmental agencies, some of which impose regulation of a
character similar to that of a public utility. State governmental agencies are
required to follow FCC rules when prescribing rate regulation, and thus, state
regulation of cable television rates is not allowed to be more restrictive than
the federal or local regulation.
In Alabama, Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin, customers have filed punitive
class action lawsuits on behalf of all person residing in those respective
states who are or were potential customers of the Company's cable television
service, and who have been charged a processing fee for delinquent payment of
their cable bill. The actions challenge the legality of the processing fee and
seek declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and unspecified damages. In Alabama
and Wisconsin, the Company has entered into joint speculation and case
management orders with attorneys for plaintiffs. A Motion to Dismiss is pending
in Indiana. The Company intends to vigorously defend the actions. At this stage
of the actions, the Company is not able to project the expenses of defending the
actions or the potential outcome of the actions, including the impact on the
consolidated financial position or results of operations.
The Company is also party to lawsuits which are generally incidental to its
business. In the opinion of management, after consulting with legal counsel, the
outcome of these lawsuits will not have a material adverse effect on the
Company's consolidated financial position or results of operations.
(13) SUBSEQUENT EVENT (UNAUDITED)
In March 1999, concurrent with the issuance of Senior Notes and Senior
Discount Notes, the combined company (Charter and the Company, see note 1)
extinguished all long-term debt, excluding borrowings of Charter and the Company
under their respective credit agreements, and refinanced all existing credit
agreements at various subsidiaries of the Company and Charter with a new credit
agreement entered into by a wholly owned subsidiary of the combined company.