Ameritech Grows in Ohio, Ill.

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Ameritech New Media added to its Illinois and Ohio clusterslast week with two additional cable franchises that pushed its total to 113 in threestates.

The MSO, which has signed 22 franchises this year, pickedup deals in Wheeling, Ill., and Obetz, Ohio -- communities currently served by AT&TBroadband & Internet Services and Time Warner Cable, respectively.

In Wheeling, a suburb 10 miles outside of Chicago,ANM's 15-year franchise covers 14,500 households. The Obetz franchise adds 1,600homes in the Columbus area.

"Our village board has been committed to bringing incable competition for our residents, and we're confident that Ameritech NewMedia's entry into the market will benefit Wheeling customers," Wheeling VillagePresident Greg Klatecki said in a prepared statementANM spokesman Geoff Potter saidWheeling solidifies the company's position in the Chicagoland area, where it has585,000 households under contract. "It fills in our presence in the area verynicely," he added.

It also continues a streak that has seen ANM acquire oneIllinois franchise every month for the past year.

The company already serves the nearby communities ofArlington Heights, Des Plaines and Prospect Heights, with Mount Prospect and Glenviewexpected to come online soon. "And we're continuing to negotiate with anotherdozen communities in the Chicago area alone," Potter said.

However, construction of the Wheeling system will have towait until sometime next year, since ANM is already actively building throughout theChicago area, he added.

The Obetz agreement gives ANM 47 Ohio franchises, where itscluster now stands at some 575,000 households. Construction will begin early next year,with a 36-month build-out schedule.

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