SureWest Communications’ Board of Directors has approved adding 5,000 new homes to its 2011 capital plan, resulting in a total of 15,500 fiber home additions scheduled this year in Olathe, Kan.

Steve Oldham, SureWest’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement, "Our goal is to reach 35-40 percent in total penetration on the new fiber homes, and in just a month we have already achieved 18 percent sales penetration on the first 2,000. In some areas, we are as high as 33 percent."

The additional homes enable SureWest to further take advantage of federal tax incentives on new investments made in 2011. It increases SureWest’s projected 2011 capital expenditures range from $60-$70 million to $65-$74 million. Projected capital expenditures for 2012 remain in the $60-$70 million range and in the $55-$65 million range for 2013.

SureWest expects to continue investing in high-margin growth opportunities and is prioritizing spending where it has experienced the greatest returns. The company has achieved high penetration levels in the Kansas City market since it began passing fiber homes in 2009. The existing Kansas City hybrid fiber coaxial network has 40 percent penetration levels and the 11,600 new fiber homes passed in 2009 have already reached 34 percent penetration.

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Comcast is adding Pursuit Media in select markets, including Boston, Chicago, Houston and Philly. The hunting and fishing network recently became available to all

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