MSOs to Rent Tower Space


Four independent cable companies have banded together to
tap into a growing segment of the communications business -- leasing space on
communications towers.

Rifkin & Associates Inc., TCA Cable TV Inc., Triax
Telecommunications Co. L.L.C. and Multimedia Cablevision Inc. have formed Tower Synergy

Together, they have 709 cable-television towers, and they
plan to lease space on the structures to wireless carriers.

Tower leasing has become a hot business in the past few
years, with the growth in wireless-telephone services and the resistance in many
communities to allowing new structures to be built in their neighborhoods. As a result,
more wireless carriers are seeking space on existing structures.

Tower Synergy has plenty of structures: Rifkin has 216
towers in 11 states; TCA has 144 towers in four states; Triax has 314 towers in seven
states; and Multimedia has 28 towers in three states.

The group hired Arlington, Texas-based Centerpointe
Communications to market space on the towers.

Centerpointe vice president Fred DeLuca said that for the
most part, cable companies have been unaware of the value of their communications towers
to wireless providers, but that is changing quickly.

"This is something that has been brought to their
attention over the past 12 months," DeLuca said. "[Towers] are an undervalued
asset that can be a very valuable asset. These are essentially depreciated-out assets that
can get newfound revenue."

Other, larger cable companies -- including Cox
Communications Inc., which formed a joint venture with Arlington, Va.-based TeleCom Towers
in 1997 -- have also identified this new revenue stream.