SONIC COMMUNICATIONS CABLE TELEVISION SYSTEMS
NOTES TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS -- (CONTINUED)
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. For the period from
April 1, 1998, through May 20, 1998, the amount refunded by the Company has been
insignificant. The Company may be required to refund additional amounts in the
The Company believes that it has complied in all material respects with the
ownership 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 are 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.
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 Systems.
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.