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More on CoBridge purchase of Charter systems

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 11:45am
Mike Robuck

The cable industry could be headed for more sales or swaps of systems as cable operators look to centralize their operations.

Yesterday I wrote about CoBridge Communications closing in on its purchase of 36 systems that are currently owned by Charter Communications. The deal is expected to close around Oct. 21, and CoBridge CEO Scott Widham said there were additional systems for sale either on the market now or soon to be on the market, although he didn’t mention the names of any sellers.

While the economy is still lodged at the bottom of an outhouse, there appears to be a strong market demand for cable systems. To wit: Abry takes RCN private, Knology is buying Sunflower Broadband and Cablevision won a bidding war for Bresnan Communications.

And as Widham said, the shuffling of systems, whether by sales or swaps, may not be over. Widham said CoBridge was exploring ways of making its systems more contiguous across the seven states it currently serves, but it wouldn’t rule out a large purchase elsewhere in the U.S. if it made sense for the company’s growth plan.

Large cable operators could also get into the act as they work toward centralizing their operations by shedding systems that aren’t a good fit.

As for Charter, a spokeswoman provided this statement in regard to the CoBridge deal after deadline yesterday: “This is a strategic transaction for Charter, as we continue to further strengthen our operating clusters and improve efficiencies through acquisitions, sales and other transactions."

CoBridge to offer security service
In addition to improved triple-play services, business-class Ethernet and VoIP services, and a multi-room DVR offering, CoBridge also plans on offering a security service to its customers at some point.Managed security services add incremental revenues for cable operators, and Suddenlink has been offering a security service for more than 30 years in some of the Texas communities it serves.

This year, Suddenlink has started rolling its security service out in other systems in its footprint and currently has it in more than 60 communities in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri, with more than 30 launches this year alone.

Suddenlink’s security service gives customers the ability to monitor property remotely and receive e-mail, text or phone alerts. The service, which uses a wireless system to monitor doors and windows, includes cameras and motion detection devices.

According to this story in Light Reading, Comcast is trialing a security service in Houston. Other cable operators are no doubt exploring their own security service options, as well


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