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RCN Corporation, ( ), founded in 1993 and based in Herndon, Virginiamarker, is the first Americanmarker facilities-based competitive ("overbuild") provider of bundled telephone, cable television and high speed Internet service delivered over its own fiber-optic local network to consumers in the Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The company has been revitalized since its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004. RCN was originally Residential Communications Network.

As of 2006, RCN claims 424,000 domestic customers and 130 cable franchises.


RCN was originally created in 1993 by developer David McCourt and Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., the Omaha construction giant. Kiewit also owned MFS, a pioneering Competitive Access Provider (CAP). In a series of moves, RCN purchased C-TEC, the parent of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Telephone (Commonwealth was spun out several years later), while MFS spun off its small residential telephone operations to RCN. MFS was later purchased by Worldcom. RCN/C-TEC became a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC) when the Telecom Act of 1996 passed.

RCN then began its growth as a cable TV overbuilder, constructing competitive cable systems in markets that already had cable service. Most of its systems were partnerships with power companies, which provided rights-of-way on poles. RCN featured "triple play" television/internet/telephone service, though for some time its voice operations were largely resold incumbent telephone company lines. It purchased existing US East Coast ISPs Erol's Internet, UltraNet Communications, Interport and JavaNet. On the West Coast, it purchased existing ISPs DNAI and Brainstorm. In Chicagomarker it bought into the market by acquiring overbuilder 21st Century Telecom. The name originally stood for Residential Communications Network, though the parent entity was RCN Corp. The company used fall-of-the-Sovietmarker themed marketing campaigns in a costly campaign during the late 1990s boom years. RCN's activities were not profitable, however, and the company lost approximately a billion dollars a year for several years. In May 2004, RCN filed a pre-packed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and emerged as a restructured company in December 2004.

In early February 2009, RCN converted to all digital in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, just two weeks before the scheduled over-the-air analog cutoff (which many broadcasters followed, despite the extension by Congress).

With the transition, the company is able to use the entire spectrum for digital and high-definition television broadcasting, reducing the need to compress signals, and offering more channels with higher-quality video service. The company also gets an extra three dollars per month for even basic non-HD set-top boxes, which are now required on every TV set. (Over-the-air converter box will not work, as they were prohibited from being cable-ready.)

Acquisitions and selloffs

On January 21, 1998, RCN paid $110.5M for UltraNet in Massachusettsmarker and Erol's in Virginiamarker, reported The Boston Globe on January 22, 1998.

On March 20, 2006 RCN bought [311136] Consolidated Edison Communications Holding Co., a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison for $32 million and $7 million in working capital.

On August 18, 2006, RCN announced it was selling its San Franciscomarker operations, representing 18,000 subscribers, to Astound Broadband [311137] for $45 million. [311138]

On September 13, 2006, Bloomberg News, citing two anonymous sources, reported that RCN hired the Blackstone Group to examine the possibility of putting the company up for sale.[311139]


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