RCN Targets Boston For ‘Analog Crush’

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RCN’s all-digital initiative—dubbed “Analog Crush”—will move to the Boston area on July 4, president Peter Aquino told an audience at an investor conference Tuesday.

RCN launched Analog Crush in Chicago earlier this year mainly to reclaim bandwidth for additional HDTV channels. By going all-digital, RCN will be able to double its HD channels from about 50 currently to more than 100.

The all-digital initiative has also helped RCN grow its digital video penetration substantially—from about 60% a year ago to 72% currently.

The all-digital network will also be an additional weapon to combat Verizon Communications FiOS video service in Boston. Aquino said that while FiOS has taken some customers from RCN in the Boston market in the past three years, that trend is beginning to change.

“Analog Crush is going to be a formidable competitor to what they have,” Aquino said at the Deutsche Bank Media & Telecommunications conference in New York. “In the case of Boston right now, we have 40 HD channels before Crush, which is coming July 4, and they have 30 [HD] channels.”

Aquino added that RCN’s other services—high-speed data and voice—already have proven to be competitive products against the telcos and cable. Since Verizon launched FiOS in Boston about three years ago, Aquino said that RCN has increased its number of high-speed data customers while its base of residential voice customers has remained stable.

Although Aquino would not quantify how many video subscribers RCN has lost to FiOS, he said that many are beginning to come back through a combination of pricing incentives and better service.

“The three-year experience basically shows that Boston lost video subs early on, Comcast as well, and now you’re seeing a pretty good rebound from both of us, frankly,” Aquino said. “I don’t think they [FiOS] got the 30% share they were shooting for.”

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