The numbers are starting to come in – literally – and it appears that competition has been good for both cable and cable subscribers. The real surprise is that this was supposed to happen.

Insight Communications this week announced fourth quarter and annual results that showed expanded revenues and higher subscriber numbers in all areas of the business.

Dinni Jain, the MSO’s president-COO, called 2006 "our best operational year in our history. We finally got VoIP rolled out across almost our entire footprint. We ended our outsource agreement with AT&T and brought our whole HSI (high-speed Internet) backbone in-house and then raised our speeds to 10 meg across the whole footprint. We re-launched our digital product and made significant infrastructure improvements to better enable customer service."

Moving forward, Insight is probably sitting pretty infrastructure-wise, nurturing its nascent business services effort and keeping a close eye on competition from Wide Open West (WOW) operations in Evansville and Columbus, OH, as well as what Verizon and AT&T may do in areas where they compete.

"If you dissect the business into its individual parts, every business we’re in is highly competitive. We have been competing hard and well for years now, and I think our results are showing that," Willner said.

As a footnote, perhaps, Insight has one other thing in its favor: "We completed deals with all the major station group owners in our markets in the last part of last year, (and) we don’t have another round of this (retransmission) battle until the end of ’08," Willner said.

A cynic might point out that by then there will be cable boxes with built-in over-the-air digital tuners – but that would just be a coincidence. – Jim Barthold

The Daily


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