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What's A Nice Company Like You...

Up Front: I-Way Patrol


AS THE PHONE COMPANIES move into a deregulated world, they're confronting the good, the bad, and the smutty. The latest? A video-on-demand trial offer to viewers in Queens, N.Y. from Nynex and Time Warner's cable division features soft-core porn movies.

The pay-per-view skin flicks, available since mid-November, are part of the Spice Channel, an adult-program service that is part of the Time Warner package offered to 22 households participating in the trial offer. Under federal regulations, phone companies have no say over the content of video services carried over their lines.

Time Warner says viewers can keep their kids from calling up Spice offerings by not telling them the special identification number needed to order a movie. Nynex, which is only acting as the delivery method for the Time Warner service, has expressed no public chagrin over it. But Nynex says it is seeking a way for subscribers to block the channel altogether if they wish. By Catherine Arnst

Silicon Valley State of Mind

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