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RCN Chicago rebranding as Astound Broadband, joining co-owned regional cable providers under national banner


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There is a new identify in Chicago cable.

RCN, a cable and web supplier out there to about 1 million properties in Chicago and the suburbs, is rebranding as Astound Broadband, becoming a member of co-owned regional providers equivalent to Grande, Wave and Digital West beneath the brand new nationwide banner.

The announcement Wednesday provides New Jersey-based Astound, the sixth largest cable operator within the U.S., extra advertising and marketing heft because it competes in opposition to business giants like Comcast and AT&T, with a deal with rising its broadband buyer base.

Prospects will see the brand new identify on all the pieces from payments to restore vehicles.

“Even our technicians will have new uniforms,” stated Tom McKay, senior vice president and basic supervisor of Astound Broadband Chicago.

Stonepeak, a New York-based private equity firm, purchased Astound—the father or mother firm of RCN and different regional cable suppliers—for $8.1 billion in August. Astound has greater than 1 million subscribers in Chicago, New York and different markets from New England to the Pacific Northwest, with aspirations to change into a bigger participant beneath the brand new identify.

In November, Astound accomplished the $661 million buy of WOW!, including greater than 75,000 clients in Chicago’s western suburbs, in addition to service areas in Evansville, Indiana, and Anne Arundel, Maryland. WOW! clients will transition over the subsequent a number of months to the Astound model, McKay stated.

Astound declined to say what number of subscribers it has within the Chicago space between RCN and WOW!, however the firm plans to launch an aggressive advertising and marketing marketing campaign in Chicago to introduce the brand new identify and lure new clients, McKay stated.

Placing broadband within the identify is a part of the Astound progress technique, and reflective of broader business developments.

Conventional cable and satellite tv for pc suppliers misplaced greater than 5.1 million subscribers by means of the primary 9 months of 2021, in accordance with information from business analysts MoffettNathanson. Losses within the pay-TV business have been partially offset by beneficial properties in streaming services like Sling TV, DirecTV Stream and Hulu + Live TV.

In the meantime, cable and telecommunication corporations added almost 2.7 million broadband subscribers by means of the primary 9 months of 2021, in accordance with MoffettNathanson.

“Less and less people are taking cable nowadays,” McKay stated. “They’re finding their way to the streaming services … and broadband is the key.”

RCN Chicago has been promoting new clients its web streaming providers because it transitions away from conventional cable hookups. Older clients are nonetheless capable of hold the cable video service, McKay stated.

The WOW! acquisition introduced in hundreds of latest clients from Rolling Meadows to Naperville, within the south suburbs and town. Astound is seeking to construct out its broadband infrastructure in these markets to succeed in unwired condominium buildings and “underserved subdivisions” that WOW! didn’t join, McKay stated.

RCN Chicago serves north suburban Evanston, Lincolnwood and Skokie, in addition to two dozen Chicago neighborhoods. During the last two years, RCN has expanded broadband service to the Fulton Market, West City and Logan Sq. neighborhoods in Chicago. The gross sales pitch to modify touts broadband service that’s “typically cheaper than the competition,” McKay stated.

Astound has about 240 staff and is in a “hiring frenzy” so as to add 32 positions, principally to fill gaps within the newly acquired WOW! infrastructure, McKay stated. The brand new hires will embody buyer care, service technicians, gross sales and different customer-facing positions.

Future progress plans might take Astound into different Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs, with a state license that enables it to “build anywhere” in Illinois, McKay stated.

“It will get bigger,” McKay stated. “I don’t have a projection at this point, but it will grow every year.”


Comcast sheds cable customers but adds internet subscribers


©2022 Chicago Tribune.
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RCN Chicago rebranding as Astound Broadband, becoming a member of co-owned regional cable suppliers beneath nationwide banner (2022, January 13)
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