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unaffiliated programmers non-discriminatory access to a portion of the system's
cable system, may be able to avoid local franchising requirements. Well financed
businesses from outside the cable industry, such as the public utilities which
already possess fiber optic and other transmission lines in the areas they serve
may over time become competitors. There has been a recent increase in the number
of cities that have constructed their own cable systems, in a manner similar to
city-provided utility services. Constructing a competing cable system is a
capital intensive process which involves a high degree of risk. We believe that
in order to be successful, a competitor's overbuild would need to be able to
serve the homes and businesses in the overbuilt area on a more cost-effective
basis than us. Any such overbuild operation would require either significant
access to capital or access to facilities already in place that are capable of
delivering cable television programming.
     We are aware of overbuild situations in six of our systems located in
Newnan, Columbus and West Point, Georgia; Barron, Wisconsin; and Lanett and
Valley, Alabama. Approximately 44,000 basic customers, approximately 1.6% of our
total basic customers, are passed by these overbuilds. Additionally, we have
been notified that franchises have been awarded, and present potential overbuild
situations, in four of our systems located in Southlake, Roanoke and Keller,
Texas and Willimantic, Connecticut. These potential overbuild areas service an
aggregate of approximately 45,000 basic customers or approximately 1.6% of our
total basic customers. In response to such overbuilds, these systems have been
designated priorities for the upgrade of cable plant and the launch of new and
enhanced services. We have upgraded each of these systems to at least 750
megahertz two-way HFC architecture, with the exceptions of our systems in
Columbus, Georgia, and Willimantic, Connecticut. Upgrades to at least 750
megahertz two-way HFC architecture with respect to these two systems are
expected to be completed by December 31, 2000 and December 31, 2001,
     - TELEPHONE COMPANIES.  The competitive environment has been significantly
affected both by technological developments and regulatory changes enacted in
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 which were designed to enhance competition in
the cable television and local telephone markets. Federal cross-ownership
restrictions historically limited entry by local telephone companies into the
cable television business. The 1996 Telecom Act modified this cross-ownership
restriction, making it possible for local exchange carriers who have
considerable resources to provide a wide variety of video services competitive
with services offered by cable systems.
     As we expand our offerings to include telecommunications services, we will
be subject to competition from other telecommunications providers. The
telecommunications industry is highly competitive and includes competitors with
greater financial and personnel resources, who have brand name recognition and
long-standing relationships with regulatory authorities. Moreover, mergers,
joint ventures and alliances among franchised, wireless or private cable
television operators, local exchange carriers and others may result in providers
capable of offering cable television, Internet and telecommunications services
in direct competition with us.
     Several telephone companies have obtained or are seeking cable television
franchises from local governmental authorities and are constructing cable
systems. Cross-subsidization by local exchange carriers of video and telephony
services poses a strategic advantage over cable operators seeking to compete
with local exchange carriers that provide video services. In addition, local
exchange carriers provide facilities for the transmission and distribution of
voice and data services, including Internet services, in competition with our
existing or potential interactive services ventures and businesses, including
Internet service, as well as