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Charter’s all digital blazes a trail in former Bresnan systems

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 12:12pm
Mike Robuck

Charter Communications is looking to cross off the former Bresnan, and Optimum, systems from its all-digital checklist once the conversion kicks off in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.

Charter’s stated goal is to have its all-digital upgrades completed across its entire 29-state footprint by the end of this year, with the former Bresnan systems scheduled for completion in November. Charter said the Mountain States all-digital conversion project would start next month with groups of customers transitioning to an all-digital network on a rolling basis.

With the reclaimed bandwidth from the analog-to-digital conversion, Charter will serve up more than 200 HD channels, offer more VOD options and increase its data speeds. Once the all-digital upgrade is wrapped up in the Mountain States, Charter will double residential Internet speeds from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps on the downstream at no additional cost.

"By removing outdated analog signals, we regain bandwidth in our network enabling us to provide more HD channels and open the door to faster Internet speeds and future innovation," said Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge. "This upgrade speaks to the fact that Charter is providing our customers with the very best products at the very best value, and we've invested more than $2 billion in our fiber-rich network to make that happen."

The upgrade will take place over more than 35 wide-ranging communities out West including: Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Canon City, Casper, Cheyenne, Cody, Durango, Gillette, Grand Junction, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, Montrose and Sheridan.

Charter started ramping up its all-digital effort after receiving a CableCard waiver from the Federal Communications Commission in order to use two-way, dual-security HD set-top boxes. Charter’s first major all-digital conversion took place in North Texas early last year followed by conversion projects in California, South Carolina, Oregon, Michigan and Massachusetts. The all-digital project also got underway in Missouri and Southern Illinoisearlier this year. 

In order to make the digital conversions work, subscribers need to get Charter-issued digital set-top boxes for each of their televisions. With the use of those boxes, Charter customers will gain VOD access to more than 4,500 titles for every television in their homes. 

Four years ago Cablevision forked out $1.365 billion to buy the former Bresnan systems after founder Bill Bresnan passed away in 2009.  Last year Charter came out the high bidder in acquiring those same systems from Cablevision for $1.625 billion. 

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