Ameritech New Media signed its 100th cable
franchise last week when it inked an agreement allowing it to serve Chicago Heights, Ill.,
a Chicagoland suburb of 11,000 households.
The cable arm of Chicago-based regional Bell operating
company Ameritech Corp. broke the century mark less than four years after entering the
cable business by signing its first four franchises in Plymouth, Plymouth Township,
Northville and Canton, Mich.
Meanwhile, it took ANM less than 24 hours to begin adding
to its total, as it announced one day later that it had signed its 101st deal
in Dearborn Heights, Mich., a community of 23,500 households and 61,000 residents outside
"Since we installed our first Americast customer in
May 1996, we've won more than 200,000 cable-TV subscribers, who have made Ameritech
the largest competitive cable company in the nation," said Donna Garofano, ANM's
vice president of public affairs, in a prepared statement.
"We've improved the quality of life for
Midwestern cable viewers, and we look forward to extending those benefits to the people of
Chicago Heights," she added.
Chicago Heights officials voted to authorize a 15-year
agreement that will put ANM in head-to-head competition for the community's 33,000
residents with AT&T Broadband & Internet Services (formerly Tele-Communications
Inc.), the area's incumbent operator.
"Our residents have been very vocal about wanting a
choice in cable TV, and we really look forward to the quality and excellent reputation
that Ameritech New Media brings to our city," Chicago Heights Mayor Sam Ciambrone
ANM now has 84 cable systems up and running in Michigan,
Illinois and Ohio. Its franchises cover 1.66 million households and 4 million residents in
the three states.
After signing 28 franchise agreements and launching 31 new
systems last year, the company has been concentrating on its cluster in the suburbs of
south Chicago, where it has signed seven deals in the past year, giving it 21 area
franchises covering 527,000 households and 1.37 million residents.
Overall, it will be competing against former TCI systems in
13 Chicago venues, not including areas formerly served by Jones Intercable Inc. but
purchased by TCI prior to its acquisition by AT&T Corp.