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PACTEL ARMED TO TACKLE CABLE

Pacific Telesis received Federal Communications Commission approval on Wednesday to build “video dialtone” platforms designed to eventually provide head-to-head competition with existing California cable TV providers.

PacTel Enterprise Group prexy Michael Fitzpatrick hailed the FCC authorization, saying the giant Baby Bell is “now on track to be the first to offer a full-service network, supporting telephony, data and video delivery on a single network in the U.S.”

The FCC order permits PacTel to construct VDT systems in homes that pass 1.3 million Californians. PacTel said the service will be available in San Jose, San Diego and portions of Los Angeles and Orange County by early 1996. Work was scheduled to have begun in San Jose next month, but Pac Bell’s excavation permit was revoked in June because city planners were concerned about the size, appearance and possible environmental effects of “neighborhood nodes,” above-ground cabinets containing electronic switching equipment serving 500 homes. Both Pac Bell and the San Jose city manager’s office are optimistic that concerns can be addressed quickly and excavation will resume in the near future.

PacTel joins telco giants Bell Atlantic, Ameritech, Nynex, GTE and Southern New England Telephone in receiving FCC approval to deliver VDT services.

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