In a rush of activity, Ameritech New Media activated five
new cable systems in three states last week.
In a new marketing wrinkle, consumers in each new location
who take the company's "Premiercast" expanded-basic package will receive
$60 in free groceries. Those taking premium channels will receive $120 in free food.
The company is also offering new customers in Illinois and
Ohio its new "Local Connections" service, which provides 92 additional channels
of local listings, including information on movie-theater show times, concerts, community
activities, restaurants, schools, clubs, libraries and weather.
In Michigan, the Chicago-based video arm of regional Bell
operating company Ameritech Corp. unveiled cable service in the towns of Centerline and
Taylor, giving it 33 systems operating in the Detroit suburbs. ANM will compete against
Comcast Corp. in both locations.
In Ohio, systems were activated in Dublin, a suburb of
Columbus currently served by Time Warner Cable; and in North Royalton, a Cleveland suburb
controlled by Cablevision Systems Corp.
And ANM launched its ninth system in Illinois when it
rolled out Americast service in the community of Streamwood, where it will go head-to-head
with Tele-Communications Inc.
Also in Illinois, the DuPage County Board last week granted
the telco a franchise to seek cable customers in its unincorporated areas. ANM already has
franchises in three DuPage County towns, and in a total of 87 Midwest communities.
ANM spokesman Geoff Potter said the company has 72 networks
up and running, with more than 150,000 customers in three states.
Potter added that the launches gave ANM at least one new
system in each of the states where it has been building major clusters.