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Optimum takes over as Bresnan fades to black

Fri, 05/13/2011 - 10:53am
Mike Robuck

Starting yesterday, Cablevision's Optimum branding replaced the Bresnan Communications name throughout Bresnan's former footprint of Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

Cablevision forked out $1.365 billion last year to buyout Bresnan, and yesterday's launch of the Optimum triple-play services went right to the jugglers of Cablevision's newfound competition out West.

Bresnan CommunicationsCablevision is now largely competing with Qwest for data and phone subscribers in Bresnan's former footprint, as well as the satellite video providers. Commercials and online ads have touted the fact that the Optimum brand offers on-demand choices that satellite can't match, and that the data speeds are up to 10 times faster than Qwest's DSL offerings.

In my neck of the woods, the Optimum Triple Play expanded basic tier is now priced at $89.95 a month for the first year, for new customers and existing customers that want to upgrade.  The price goes to $117.85 after one year.

Existing Bresnan video customers can add the Optimum data and voice services for an additional $44.90 for the first year.

Cablevision has been promising more HD choices on commercials over the past few months and currently offers more than 100 free HD choices in my service area.

The faster data tiers are 15 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up, or Optimum Online Boost at 30 Mbps/5 Mbps. Bresnan's speed includes an 8 Mbps/1 Mbps tier that costs around $40 per month.

Last year, Bresnan targeted having DOCSIS 3.0 in 70 percent of its footprint by year's end, but the service has yet to be launched. Cablevision offers a DOCSIS 3.0-based 101 Mbps tier and a 50 Mbps tier that is part of a new bundle.

It will be business as usual for existing Bresnan subscribers for all of their services, but in addition to luring in new data and video subscribers from the competition, Cablevision hopes the new bundles and features will lead to a switch to Optimum.

On the technology side, Cablevision said in its recent earnings call that it was working on a transport ring that will connect up to 85 percent of the former Bresnan customers in order to run the systems as one large cable system. The transport ring is slated to be finished by year's end.

Say goodnight, Bresnan
With the launch of the Optimum branding, the Bresnan Communications name will once again fade away from the ranks of the nation's cable operators.

Bill Bresnan first formed Bresnan Communications in 1984 before selling off the subscribers to Charter Communications. Bresnan re-launched Bresnan Communications in the mountain states in 2002 when the company purchased former AT&T systems.

Bill Bresnan was a cable legend who passed away in 2009, but at least his name lives on with The Cable Center's Bresnan Ethics in Business Award, which was awarded to former Bright House Networks chairman Bob Miron earlier this week.

On a personal note, I met Bill Bresnan once at a Cable Center Hall of Fame event in Denver. He found out I was one of his subscribers, and after shaking my hand and slapping me on the back, he truly wanted to know how I liked my Bresnan services.


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