Disconnected

The collapse of the Bell Atlantic-TCI deal may slow but not stop construction of the information highway

Ray Smith and John Malone were sitting in their respective offices last Tuesday, both watching the same show: a C-SPAN broadcast of the Federal Communications Commission hearing on cable-TV rates. Smith, the chairman of Bell Atlantic, was in his Arlington, Virginia, office; Malone, the boss of cable giant Tele-Communications Inc., was at TCI headquarters in Denver. Both executives were appalled as they watched the FCC announce a 7% reduction in cable rates, on top of a 10% rollback ordered last year. Malone immediately telephoned Smith. "Ray," Malone said in an emotionless voice, "this is a bigger hit than we thought." Responded...

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