GUAM CABLE COMPANY TO HIKE RATES 8 PERCENT

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 28) - Costs associated
with restoring Marianas CableVision's infrastructure after the two destructive
typhoons last year and an expected increase in insurance premium for typhoon
coverage will affect the pockets of Guam cable TV customers.

MCV President and General Manager John Cruikshank yesterday said
beginning July 1:

· Basic cable or basic cable packages will increase by
$3.45 a month, an increase of about 8 percent. An additional 2 percent
increase will be in place.

· A 2 percent increase for all other cable TV services
takes effect the same date.

Marianas CableVision isn't calling the 2-percent increase a
direct result of the recent rise in Gross Receipts Tax.

But if the GRT is rolled back, Cruikshank said, MCV will roll
back the 2-percent component of the rate increase.

The government of Guam increased the GRT from a 4 to 6 percent
rate beginning April 1 to try to prop up financially strapped GovGuam.

The business community has been pressing for the rollback of the
GRT increase, but GovGuam is considering pledging GRT revenue to convince bond
investors to lend the government more than $200 million.

The main reason for the cable TV rate increase is the cost of
restoring MCV infrastructure after Typhoon Chata'an and Supertyphoon Pongsona
caused extensive damage last year, according to Cruikshank.

MCV's restoration costs are estimated at between $15 million and
$16 million, he said.

Typhoon insurance premium also is expected to be more costly
because of typhoon-related claims, according to Cruikshank.

MCV customers will start receiving rate increase notices in the
mail between this week and next, he said.

MCV restoration efforts are expected to be about 98 percent done
this week.

Along with the rate increase comes news from MCV that it is
targeting July 1 as the launch date for live FOX News feed of its U.S. domestic
programming.

FOX News will be initially offered on Channel 57 to replace the
Soundtrack channel.

MCV also is preparing to roll out added value to its premium
channel subscribers.

The plan is to provide two additional premium channels for
customers that have either HBO, Showtime or Starz, for the price of one premium
channel, according to Cruikshank.

For customers who have all three -- HBO, Showtime or Starz --
they get six additional premium channels, Cruikshank said.

The additional channels for premium customers will be made
available through what's called a set-top box, which is a terminal that allows
for additional channels to go through cable lines and into TV sets.

One set-top box will be free for premium customers and
additional boxes will have some nominal fees, according to Cruikshank.

A launch date for the additional channels via the set-top box
will be announced later because of an uncertain arrival date for the set-top box
shipment.

May 28, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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