Chicago-based Ameritech New Media picked up its 25th cable
franchise of the year last week when it inked an agreement with the town of Robbins, Ill.
Officials in the community of 2,200 households, located
south of Chicago, voted unanimously to grant the video arm of Ameritech Corp. a 15-year
deal that will put the MSO in competition with incumbent Tele-Communications Inc. sometime
Although lower than the total of 34 franchises that it
signed in 1997, ANM officials insisted, "The year's not over yet."
"[A total of] 25 in a year is pretty impressive,"
ANM spokesman Geoff Potter said, "and we still have a month to go. We'll see how many
more we can bring into the fold before it's over."
Based on local reaction, Potter said that ANM expects
Robbins -- located between Chicago and the company's system in Oak Forest -- to be "a
good place to do business."
"They had a public hearing on a Sunday, and about 30
to 40 people showed up, all of them asking for choice," Potter said. "We're
going to do our best to give them that choice."
Potter said ANM has agreed to an 18-month build-out
schedule once it begins construction on the Robbins system sometime next year.
The 25 new cable franchises that ANM has signed so far this
year cover a combined 1.6 million residents and 436,000 households in Michigan, Ohio and
Overall, the company has 88 franchises covering a
population of 3.7 million in 1.55 million households, and it has 72 cable systems up and
The Robbins franchise was Ameritech's second deal in
Illinois in as many weeks. One week earlier, it announced an agreement with DuPage County,
Ill., under which it will extend its existing Americast service into the jurisdiction's