Middletown, N.Y. -- Mediacom LLC said last week that
it plans to speed up its system upgrades and to add more capacity than previously planned,
based on its strong operating results and healthy finances.
Mediacom chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso -- whose biggest
acquisition was a $315 million deal to buy 265,000 subscribers from Cablevision Systems
Corp. last fall -- said he hopes to start deploying digital-television and cable-modem
services earlier next year than previously planned.
Commisso now plans to conclude the upgrades of
Mediacom's mostly rural systems by June 30, 2000 -- ahead of the five-year schedule
that the MSO had planned. By then, 85 percent of its 360,000-subscriber base would be
served by 550-megahertz or 750-MHz systems, up from 300 MHz in many cases today.
Mediacom plans to spend $125 million on capital
improvements by the end of 2000, including the $35 million that it spent through the first
nine months of 1998.
In the third quarter, Mediacom's cash flow rose by
about 28 percent and its revenue rose by 12 percent on a pro forma basis, assuming that
its system purchases had been completed in January 1997.
Overall, Mediacom reported $34.3 million in quarterly
revenue, up from $5.4 million in the same period a year ago. Cash flow rose to $14.8
million from $2.6 million.
Through nine months, Mediacom had $94.4 million in revenue
and $39.1 million in cash flow.
Commisso said the capital program will be paid for with
cash from operations and existing credit commitments, adding that Mediacom's
financial leverage will remain "moderate" because of expected cash-flow growth
next year. Mediacom's debt-to-annualized-cash-flow ratio was 5.37 times as of Sept.