Video services

RCN Begins Beantown Digital Cut-Over

RCN Corp. has come through on its pledge to transition its entire Boston-area system to digital, announcing it will start to wave good-bye to analog for good in Beantown on Independence Day.

RCN, which is using entry-level Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)-made DCT700 set-tops to help fuel the transition, said it will start cutting things over in Dedham, Mass., on Thursday, and migrate the rest of its footprint in the state "over the next year."

RCN, which has already made a similar cutover in Chicago, identified Boston as the next target for its "Project Analog Crush" initiative back in early May. (See RCN to 'Crush' It in Beantown .) RCN competes in both of those markets with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which is going "all-digital" in 20 percent of its footprint toward the back half of this year. Comcast's plan, however, is to go "mostly" digital because it will still retain about 30 basic channels in analog. (See Comcast Spreads the Love .)

RCN says its analog reclamation project will allow it to double its base of about 40 high-definition channels, and eventually move it beyond the 100 mark. RCN says its move in Boston will enable it to reclaim about 400 MHz of spectrum.

The operator has not said when might start to "crush" analog in its other systems in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Lehigh Valley, Pa.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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