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TCI AND S.L. ARE BEHIND THE TIMES

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I am writing in response to your July 6 editorial concerning C-SPAN. I agree that C-SPAN is interesting and worthwhile, especially compared with many inane programs presented by TCI and the local network affiliates.

I live in a suburb of Boston that has a housing density not much different than Salt Lake City. Before that, I lived in a smaller town not too far from Boston that had a housing density of less than one-third that of Salt Lake County. In both cases, our cable systems carried more than 60 channels. This allowed us to not only have C-SPAN but to receive two C-SPAN channels 24 hours a day.The problem in Salt Lake County is TCI. TCI is years behind in updating its cable system with technology that has been available for more than a decade. Although cable companies no longer can have a legal monopoly, they most often have a de facto monopoly, as does TCI. The real answer is for cities to encourage competitive systems.

In addition, the programming of the local network affiliates is bizarre at best. Only today did Channel 5 announce that its late night programming is moving M*A*S*H after David Letterman. But Channel 4 still tries to compete with Channels 2 and 5 with its tabloid late night programming rather than bringing on Night Line or Rush Limbaugh, both of which draw a greater audience than Leno or Letterman. Also, Salt Lake probably has more paid commercial programming airing than any other major market in the United States. Either the programming staff are wrong in estimating what Salt Lakers want to see, or Salt Lakers have pitifully bland tastes to sit and watch endless hours of paid commercial programming.

Michael A. Jensen

Belmont, Mass.