Free Cash Flow? That's No BSI


With cable companies under the gun to achieve free cash flow as quickly as
possible, a Denver-based cable-services firm has developed a series of software
and asset-management products aimed at making the road toward reaching that goal
a little easier.

Free cash flow is cash flow after interest payments and capital expenditures
are made -- a metric many analysts consider a better indicator of financial

Broadband Services Inc., formed by cable pioneer and former
Tele-Communications Inc. chief operating officer J.C. Sparkman in 1999, is
basically switching its focus toward products aimed at helping operators to
achieve free cash flow.

The suite of products is aimed at asset management, supply-chain management
and inventory control. Longer-term results include improved operating

BSI chief technology officer Andy Paff said the company is targeting the
product toward larger cable operators, and the vendor already counts Charter
Communications Inc. as a customer. He added that BSI is in discussions with all
of the major MSOs.

Paff said that depending on the operator's capital budget, BSI's products
could increase inventory turns from three times to 12 times per year, meaning
that instead of turning over inventory every four months, the operator would
turn over inventory every month.

This could result in savings of as much as $100 million that would fall to
the free-cash-flow line.