CHARTERCOMM HOLDINGS, L.P.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS -- (CONTINUED)
In 1997, the Partnership shortened the estimated useful lives of certain
property, plant and equipment for depreciation purposes. As a result, an
additional $4,775 of depreciation was recorded during 1997.
Costs incurred in obtaining and renewing cable franchises are deferred and
amortized over the lives of the franchises. Costs relating to unsuccessful
franchise applications are charged to expense when it is determined that the
efforts to obtain the franchise will not be successful. Franchise rights
acquired through the purchase of cable television systems represent management's
estimate of fair value and are generally amortized using the straight-line
method over a period of 15 years. In addition, approximately $100,000 of
franchise rights are being amortized over a period of 3 to 11 years.
Debt issuance costs are being amortized to interest expense over the term
of the related debt. The interest rate cap costs are being amortized over the
terms of the agreement, which approximates three years.
IMPAIRMENT OF ASSETS
If facts and circumstances suggest that a long-lived asset may be impaired,
the carrying value is reviewed. If a review indicates that the carrying value of
such asset is not recoverable based on projected undiscounted cash flows related
to the asset over its remaining life, the carrying value of such asset is
reduced to its estimated fair value.
Cable television revenues from basic and premium services are recognized
when the related services are provided.
Installation revenues are recognized to the extent of direct selling costs
incurred. The remainder, if any, is deferred and amortized to income over the
estimated average period that customers are expected to remain connected to the
cable television system. As of December 31, 1997, no installation revenue has
been deferred, as direct selling costs exceeded installation revenue.
Fees collected from programmers to guarantee carriage are deferred and
amortized to income over the life of the contracts. Local governmental
authorities impose franchise fees on the Partnership ranging up to a federally
mandated maximum of 5.0% of gross revenues. On a monthly basis, such fees are
collected from the Partnership's customers and are periodically remitted to
local franchises. Franchise fees collected and paid are reported as revenue.
INTEREST RATE HEDGE AGREEMENTS
The Partnership manages fluctuations in interest rates by using interest
rate hedge agreements, as required by certain debt agreements. Interest rate
swaps, caps and collars are accounted for as hedges of debt obligations, and
accordingly, the net settlement amounts are recorded as adjustments to interest
expense in the period incurred. Premiums paid for interest rate caps are
deferred, included in other assets, and are amortized over the original term of
the interest rate agreement as an adjustment to interest expense.