Reston, Va. -- Greater Media Cable has signed an
affiliation agreement to offer the Road Runner data-over-cable service to 218,000 homes in
central and western Massachusetts, starting this year.
The company that provides Road Runner service -- a joint
venture called ServiceCo -- is owned by Time Warner Inc. (including the Advance/Newhouse
partnership), MediaOne Group Inc. and strategic partners Compaq Computer Corp. and
Microsoft Corp. The service has more than 170,000 subscribers, according to a spokeswoman.
Greater Media -- owned by Greater Media Inc. of East
Brunswick, N.J. -- operates cable systems in Philadelphia and in 28 Massachusetts
communities, including Worcester, the state's second-largest city.
Greater Media has 178,000 subscribers in the "Bay
State," and it is in the midst of a $70 million system upgrade there. MediaOne's
systems basically surround the Greater Media systems, making the new affiliation a good
ServiceCo recently signed up Media General Cable of
Fairfax, Va., as another affiliate. Road Runner will handle Media General's systems
in Falls Church, Vienna and Maryfield, Va., executives have said.
Media General Inc. said last week that it will tap ISP
Channel to handle high-speed-data services in its Fredericksburg, Va., system. The deal
includes about 22,000 homes passed, officials said.
The MSO's overall goal is a count of 200,000
high-speed-data customers by the end of 1999.
Media General's contract with SoftNet Systems
Inc.'s ISP Channel brings to 26 the number of cable affiliates for that
Larry Brilliant, president and CEO of SoftNet, called the
Fredericksburg system an ideal one because of its location -- 50 miles south of
"The Fredericksburg system ... will become a critical
hub for ISP Channel as we expand into the important mid-Atlantic region," Brilliant
Donald Craig, president and general manager of Media
General, said the MSO conducted extensive evaluations of the available turnkey-data
providers, settling on ISP Channel because of its focus on secondary markets and local
"We have a high regard for ISP Channel
personnel," he added.
ISP Channel's other MSO takers include Northland
Communications in Washington; Galaxy Communications in Missouri; SunTel Communications in
California; Coaxial Communications in Ohio; and the News Press Gazette in Arizona.
Media General had been involved in a high-speed-data pilot
project with turnkey-data provider Community Networks Inc., which is now out of business.