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Cable Tech

Atlantic Broadband gets ready to throw some elbows

Hot off its acquisition of WideOpenWest (WOW) systems serving Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, Atlantic Broadband remains in expansion mode – this time through a planned fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) buildout that will enable it to reach more cities and towns in New Hampshire and West Virginia.

Atlantic Broadband said Tuesday it will shell out about $82 million to extend fiber-fueled services into areas that will expand the company's footprint by nearly 70,000 additional homes and businesses. Atlantic Broadband's networks currently pass about 1.6 million homes and businesses.

Its coming expansions will cover a handful of towns in New Hampshire (Concord, Dover, Somersworth and Madbury), and four in West Virginia (Westover, Morgantown, Granville and Star City).

The expansions in New Hampshire will largely pit Atlantic Broadband against incumbents Comcast and Consolidated Communications, and in West Virginia against Comcast and Frontier Communications.

"We are entering communities where there are existing providers," Atlantic Broadband spokesperson Andrew Walton said in a statement. "With this initiative, Atlantic Broadband will provide residences and businesses with choice, plus all the benefits of fiber technology, including symmetrical download and upload speeds that will transform their online experience."

Atlantic Broadband said franchise applications have been obtained or are underway for those planned expansions. The company expects to start activating customers in those areas in early 2022.

Atlantic Broadband, the Cogeco-owned operator that was once an M&A target of Altice USA, said its resulting FTTP networks in those areas will be used to deliver symmetrical residential broadband services, a managed Wi-Fi offering (likely with Plume), IP-based video services (Atlantic Broadband is a long-time TiVo partner), and business services capable of supporting speeds of 10 Gbit/s.

Atlantic Broadband's growth plan in New Hampshire and West Virginia fits in with a general trend that has seen incumbent cable operators, including Comcast and Charter Communications, expand their service footprints by edging out their networks to adjacent areas while M&A opportunities remain limited.

Meanwhile, WOW, a competitive cable overbuilder, intends to accelerate its edge-out activity after wrapping up recent system sales to both Atlantic Broadband and Astound Broadband.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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