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Broadstripe to Emerge From Chapter 11 in 2010

Tier 2 MSO Broadstripe LLC says it won't be able to emerge from Chapter 11 until March. Broadstripe, which has about 93,000 subs in parts of Oregon, Maryland, Michigan, and Washington, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 2, disclosing at the time that it owed more than $331 million to its controlling investor, Highland Capital Management, and $46 million more to other creditors. At the time, some of its existing lenders agreed to provide the MSO with up to $15 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. (See Broadstripe Turns to Chapter 11 .) Broadstripe, in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing dated Aug. 12 requesting an extension of a waiver that permits it to buy and deploy set-tops with integrated security, revealed that it's growing less likely that it will complete the reorg this year as originally expected. The company was not immediately available for further comment Thursday morning. Broadstripe also wants the FCC to extend its current "financial hardship" set-top waiver to June 30, 2010, pointing out that similar extensions have been awarded recently to other financially distressed MSOs such as James Cable LLC, WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) , and Allegiance Communications. (See The Waiver Wire and Cable Catchup.)

In July 2007, a federal mandate required MSOs to buy and deploy only boxes with separable security, usually handled by the removable CableCARD. However, entry-level CableCARD boxes typically cost more than twice that of their closest integrated security cousins, so MSOs like Broadstripe have been seeking set-top waivers from the FCC so they can keep buying the cheaper boxes. In June, Broadstripe began to bolster its business services efforts by deploying GE-PON to targeted areas, starting with the Brooks Industrial Park in Marshall, Mich. More recently, it introduced "Broadstripe Forever," a price lock guarantee that provides the company's triple-play bundle for $130 per month. (See Broadstripe Rolls Lifetime Price Lock and Broadstripe Gets Its GEPON On.)

An omnibus hearing on Broadstripe's Chapter 11 case is scheduled to take place Sept. 9, 2009, at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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