Cable Company

By Carol Wilson  |  Posted 2001-09-10 Print this article Print

Glasgow Electric Plant Board, Glasgow, Ky. Insight Communications, New York

The cable industry presented our second tie: Glasgow Electric Plant Board and Insight Communications.

Glasgow EPB, run by Superintendent William J. Ray, is a much-lauded local electric utility that wound up building a cable network so successful that the existing cable player — a Scripps-Howard company that had been acquired by Comcast — decided to pack up and leave town.

Glasgow originally built a fiber-optic telecommunications network in the late 1980s, trying to anticipate deregulation of its own network. That led to a decision to get into cable TV service. In the early 1990s, the company built a Hybrid Fiber-Coax network and equipped it with IBM network interface cards, providing residents both TV service and an area-wide local area network for their computers.

Today, Glasgow sells 4-Mbps symmetrical service over its network for $14.95 per month, but manages to be profitable.

"Whats interesting about Glasgow is that they just set about solving the local customers problems," Mendyk says. "They wound up doing something remarkable by starting with a customer focus."

Insight Communications, under the leadership of CEO Michael S. Willner, is the ninth-largest cable company in the U.S. It has pioneered video-on-demand services, interactive program guides and technology upgrades on its Rockford, Ill., system. The company is finishing a systemwide upgrade this year, and will be the first to offer the full range of digital services across its network.

Today, Insight has about 1.4 million subscribers in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. It reports that it is providing interactive digital services in more than 800,000 homes, and is offering circuit-switched telephony in a joint effort with AT&T Broadband.

"Insight seems to have a history of innovation," Heckart says.

Others receiving votes: AT&T Broadband

Previous winners: AT&T Broadband (2000), Cox Communications (1999, 1998)

Carol Wilson Carol Wilson, prior to joining The Net Economy, served as Executive Editor of Interactive Week where she reported major issues and events in the telecommunications and other interactive fields, in addition to handling special projects and online communication coverage. Carol was part of the founding editorial team of Interactive Week. Prior to joining Interactive Week, she was Editor of Telephony magazine, a weekly trade publication for the telephone industry. Carol served as Editor for six years, following three years as Telephony's news editor. Carol has also served as Editorial Director at Magna Publications, focusing on newsletters for higher education. She began her journalism career at the High Point Enterprise, where she initially was a sportswriter and later covered business news and politics. Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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