Bye Bye, Bresnan

11:55 AM -- Bresnan Communications LLC , the rural cable MSO serving approximately 340,000 subs in the western states of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah, will soon be history. At least by name.

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) announced yesterday on their first-quarter 2011 earnings conference call that the Bresnan name will be retired. “As of May 12th, Optimum branded services will be sold throughout the former Bresnan footprint and the Bresnan brand will be retired,” said Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge.

It’s a sad occasion for some, I’m sure, considering the history of Bresnan and its pioneering founder William J. Bresnan.

Cablevision is also putting Bresnan competitors on notice. It appears they intend to import their same aggressive style to these new western markets. “We are aggressively offering our fully featured voice product to capitalize on the currently low phone penetration in these properties, as well as the high priced products offered by our competition,” said Rutledge.

They also intend to increase broadband speeds and offer over 100 HD channels to spice up the competitive landscape in these western markets. This will be accomplished in part by connecting most of Bresnan’s markets on a single transport ring, "which 85 percent of western customers will be connected to by year end."

It will be interesting to see if Cablevison can transplant their industry-leading penetration results for digital cable, broadband and voice in markets which look and act very differently from how they do in metropolitan New York. Stay tuned.

— Bernardin Arnason, Managing Partner, Pivot Group , and Publisher, Telecompetitor

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