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SEC Filings

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data and other non-video services. We cannot predict the likelihood of success
of the broadband services offered by our competitors or the impact on us of such
competitive ventures. The entry of telephone companies as direct competitors in
the video marketplace, however, is likely to become more widespread and could
adversely affect the profitability and valuation of the systems.
     - SMATV.  Additional competition is posed by satellite master antenna
television systems, known as "SMATV systems," serving multiple dwelling units.
SMATV systems are systems using one central antenna to receive signals and
deliver them to a concentrated grouping of television sets. Multiple dwelling
units are units that include condominiums, apartment complexes and private
residential communities. These private cable systems may enter into exclusive
agreements with multiple dwelling units, which may preclude us from serving
residents of these private complexes. These private cable systems can offer both
improved reception of local television stations and many of the same
satellite-delivered program services which are offered by cable systems. SMATV
systems currently benefit from operating advantages not available to franchised
cable systems, including fewer regulatory burdens and no requirement to service
low density or economically depressed communities. In addition, some of our
current and potential competitors may be exempt from some or all of the
regulations that we are subject to, and this could provide these competitors
with a competitive advantage to certain of our current and potential
     - WIRELESS DISTRIBUTION.  Cable television systems also compete with
wireless program distribution services such as multi-channel multipoint
distribution systems or "wireless cable," known as MMDS. MMDS is a collection of
various distribution services and microwave radio authorizations that can be
combined to provide up to 28 channels of entertainment, education and
information. MMDS uses low-power microwave frequencies to transmit television
programming over-the-air to paying customers. Wireless distribution services
generally provide many of the programming services provided by cable systems,
and digital compression technology is likely to increase significantly the
channel capacity of their systems both analog and digital MMDS services require
unobstructed "line of sight" transmission paths. While no longer as significant
a competitor, analog MMDS has impacted our customer growth in Riverside and
Sacramento, California and Missoula, Montana. Digital MMDS is a more significant
competitor, presenting potential challenges to us in Los Angeles, California and
Atlanta, Georgia.
     Our principal physical assets consist of cable television plant and
equipment, including signal receiving, encoding and decoding devices, headend
reception facilities, distribution systems and customer drop equipment for each
of its cable television systems. Our cable television plant and related
equipment are generally attached to utility poles under pole rental agreements
with local public utilities and telephone companies, and in certain locations
are buried in underground ducts or trenches. The physical components of our
cable television systems require maintenance and periodic upgrading to keep pace
with technological advances. We own or lease real property for signal reception
sites and business offices in many of the communities served by its systems and
for its principal executive offices. We own most of our service vehicles.
     We own the real property housing our regional data center in Town &
Country, Missouri, as well as the regional office for the Northeast Region in
Newtown, Connecticut and additional owned real estate located in Hickory, North
Carolina; Hammond,