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SEC Filings

10-K405
RENAISSANCE MEDIA GROUP LLC filed this Form 10-K405 on 03/31/1999
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   Cable television systems generally operate pursuant to franchises granted
on a nonexclusive basis. The 1992 Cable Act prohibits franchising authorities
from unreasonably denying requests for additional franchises and permits
franchising authorities to operate cable television systems. See "Legislation
and Regulation." It is possible that a franchising authority might grant a
franchise to another company containing terms and conditions more favorable
than those afforded the Company. Well-financed businesses from outside the
cable industry (such as the public utilities that own the poles to which cable
is attached) may become competitors for franchises or providers of competing
services. See "Legislation and Regulation." Currently, the Systems' principal
competitors for receiving and distributing television signals in the areas
they serve are off-air television broadcast programming, home satellite dish
earth stations ("HSDS") and DBS, although other cable television systems
operate in other non-overlapping areas of the Company's franchise areas. See
"Risk Factors--Significant Competition in the Cable Television Industry."
 
   The 1992 Cable Act contains provisions, which the FCC implemented with
regulations, to enhance the ability of cable competitors to purchase and make
available to HSDS owners certain satellite-delivered cable programming at
competitive costs. The 1996 Telecom Act prohibits certain local restrictions
that impair a viewer's ability to receive video programming services using
HSDS and over-the-air antennae, and the FCC adopted regulations implementing
this provision that preempts certain local restrictions on satellite and over-
the-air antenna reception of video programming services, including zoning,
land-use or building regulations, or any private covenant, homeowners'
association rule or similar restriction on property within the exclusive use
or control of the antenna user. Recently, the FCC implemented rules to extend
the prohibition on local restrictions which hamper consumer use of television
antennas, small satellite dishes, and wireless cable antennas, to include
viewers who rent property and seek to use antennas in areas where they have
"exclusive use," including balconies, patios, gardens, and yards exclusively
used by the renter.
 
   Cable operators also face competition from private satellite master antenna
television ("SMATV") systems that serve condominiums, apartment and office
complexes and private residential developments. The 1996 Telecom Act broadens
the definition of SMATV systems not subject to regulation as a franchised
cable television system, and the FCC recently revised its cable inside wiring
rules to provide a more specific procedure for the disposition of internal
cable wiring that belongs to an incumbent cable operator that is forced to
terminate its cable services in a multiple dwelling unit ("MDU") building by
the building owner. SMATV systems offer both improved reception of local
television stations and many of the same satellite-delivered program services
offered by franchised cable television systems. SMATV operators often enter
into exclusive agreements with building owners or homeowners' associations.
Although some states have enacted laws that authorize franchised cable
operators access to such private complexes, Louisiana, Mississippi and
Tennessee have not. These laws have been challenged in the courts with varying
results. In addition, some companies are developing and/or offering to these
private residential and commercial developments packages of telephony, data
and video services. The ability of the Company to compete for customers in
residential and commercial developments served by SMATV operators is
uncertain.
 
   In recent years, Congress enacted regulation and the FCC has initiated new
policies and authorized new technologies to provide a more favorable operating
environment for new and existing technologies that provide, or have the
potential to provide, substantial additional competition to cable television
systems. These technologies include, among others, direct broadcast satellite
service, commonly known as DBS service, whereby signals are transmitted by
satellite directly to small receiving dishes located on the customer's
property. High-powered direct-to-home satellites have made possible the wide-
scale delivery of programming to individuals throughout the United States
using roof- top or wall-mounted antennas. According to recent government and
industry reports, medium and high-power satellites currently provide video
programming to over seven million subscribers. DBS providers typically offer
to their subscribers more than 200 channels of programming including news
channels, movies, broadcast stations, live concerts and sporting events, and
other program services similar to those program services provided by cable
systems. DBS systems use video compression technology to increase
significantly the channel capacity of their systems and digital technology to
improve significantly the technical quality of the signals transmitted to
subscribers.
 
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