Comcast intends to sell off as many as 46 of its smaller cable systems, representing about half a million customers.
About a quarter of the cable systems involved are located in rural central and northern Maine and were owned by the former Susquehanna Communications (SusCom); Comcast bought SusCom in 2005.
The rest of the systems involved are scattered across Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia and California.
The story was originally reported by The Times Record of Maine (story here ).
That report suggests that Comcast has rolled out VoIP and video-on-demand (VOD) to few, if any, of the systems in Maine, so whoever buys the systems would appear to have an upgrade ahead of them. The same report speculates that the only likely buyer might be Time Warner Cable.
The latest vogue in service provider economic theory is a concept frequently referred to as clustering. The notion is that the service provider concentrates its efforts on large markets, though sometimes allowances are made for markets that may not be so big but are at least in geographical proximity.
Comcast is explaining its plan to sell off its smaller systems in the context of clustering.
Clustering can also be a rationale for getting rid of smaller operations. Verizon recently completed the sale of about 1.8 million access lines, largely in rural New England, to Fairpoint Communications (story here ) in a deal that the latest Comcast plan seems to echo.
More Broadband Direct:
• Broadband Briefs for 5/27/08