Cable television viewers could expect a wider range of programs under a settlement expected in a multiyear antitrust investigation of the industry by state prosecutors.

A statement released by the office of Utah Attorney General Jan Graham said Utah's two cable companies, TCI and Comcast, are affected by the agreement. Graham said the agreement would take effect immediately.Settlement of the investigation by 40 state attorneys general was expected to be announced Wednesday by New York Attorney General Robert Abrams.

The investigation centers around charges that cable networks have sought to squeeze out competition from smaller companies relying on newer technology, such as wireless, microwave and small dish.

The small companies say major cable companies do this by blocking access to some of the most popular channels.

Liberty Cable Television, for example, has been charging New York City consumers less than competitor Time Warner but has been unable to obtain Court TV from Time Warner, said parties close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The New York Times and The Washington Post reported Wednesday that under the settlement, the cable companies would be required to provide equal access to such entertainment to their newer-technology competitors.

The Post said a somewhat narrower agreement would be signed between the companies and the federal government.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.