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N.Y. Telco gets FCC ok for one-year vid test

The Federal Communications Commission has granted Nynex’s New York Telephone Co. permission to conduct a one-year “video dialtone” trial in Manhattan over fiber optic phone lines.

Video dialtone refers to a policy initiative approved by the FCC allowing telephone companies to compete with cable operators in the delivery of programming over phone lines.

Subscribers to video dialtone will be billed by programmers based on the amount of time spent watching shows carried on the video dialtone lines.

The FCC said New York Telephone is required to make the service available free to programmers on a first-come, first-served basis.

The experiment will be conducted in three Manhattan apartment buildings that are currently provided cable-style service by Liberty Cable, a company that delivers programming via technology known as satellite master antenna TV (SMATV).

Nynex thus becomes the second regional Bell operating company to receive FCC approval to test video dialtone. In March, the commission approved Bell Atlantic subsidiary C&P Telephone’s one-year experiment in northern Virginia.