Redwood City, Calif. -- High-speed-data company@Home
Network racked up two more cable affiliates last week, signing deals with Lenfest
Communications Corp. and Bresnan Communications covering close to 1.8 million passed homes
in the mid-Atlantic and upper-Midwest regions.
The deals mark @Home's 11th and 12th affiliates in the
United States and Canada, bringing the data-over-cable service's potential access to
upward of 55 million North American homes. But the number is a bit imprecise, because some
of the most recent deals are with companies that are acquiring Tele-Communications Inc.
subscribers that would have been @Home affiliates anyway.
@Home's deal pace has picked up lately, mostly because
the service is signing up MSOs that are aligned with TCI, a co-founder and the controlling
shareholder of @Home. In the last 30 days, @Home has announced seven sign-ups, covering a
total of 8 million homes in the United States and abroad.
Lenfest -- which, sources reported, is preparing to file
for an initial public offering of stock -- is 50 percent-owned by TCI, with the remaining
one-half owned by founder Gerry Lenfest and members of his family. It brings 1.4 million
homes into the @Home camp, mostly in the Philadelphia area, southern New Jersey and
northern Delaware. Lenfest's Suburban Cable unit plans to launch Suburban@Home later
Bresnan is about 80 percent owned by TCI, and it has a
pending system-partnership deal in which TCI will add 445,000 subscribers to
Bresnan's existing 223,000. Bresnan estimated that 340,000 homes were part of the
@Home deal, including existing Bresnan properties and incoming TCI systems that meet
@Home's 50,000-home market threshold.
Bresnan's first @Home launch is expected to be in
Midland and Bay City, Mich., also later this year.
Financial terms weren't disclosed. Other recent @Home
affiliation deals have included equity in the high-speed-data service. For example,
Century Communications Corp., which has a joint venture pending with TCI, got warrants to
buy @Home stock at its IPO price of $10.50 per share, to be exercised when performance
benchmarks are met.
Equity kickers like that take the sting out of the 35
percent revenue split that goes to @Home.
Michael Bresnan, senior vice president at the White Plains,
N.Y.-based MSO, wouldn't reveal deal terms. But he said @Home's support in such
areas as network monitoring and content was worth the revenue split.
Bresnan said his company's already-existing
high-speed-data service in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would have been done with @Home
if it was available in that area.