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RCN Chicago rebranding as Astound Broadband, joining co-owned regional cable providers under national banner

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Business News

Meanwhile, cable and telecommunication companies added nearly 2.7 million broadband subscribers through the first nine months of 2021, according to MoffettNathanson.

“Less and less people are taking cable nowadays,” McKay said. “They’re finding their way to the streaming services … and broadband is the key.”

RCN Chicago has been selling new customers its internet streaming services as it transitions away from traditional cable hookups. Older customers are still able to keep the cable video service, McKay said.

The WOW! acquisition brought in thousands of new customers from Rolling Meadows to Naperville, in the south suburbs and the city. Astound is looking to build out its broadband infrastructure in those markets to reach unwired apartment buildings and “underserved subdivisions” that WOW! did not connect, McKay said.

RCN Chicago serves north suburban Evanston, Lincolnwood and Skokie, as well as two dozen Chicago neighborhoods. Over the last two years, RCN has expanded broadband service to the Fulton Market, West Town and Logan Square neighborhoods in Chicago. The sales pitch to switch touts broadband service that is “typically cheaper than the competition,” McKay said.

 

Astound has about 240 employees and is in a “hiring frenzy” to add 32 positions, mostly to fill gaps in the newly acquired WOW! infrastructure, McKay said. The new hires will include customer care, service technicians, sales and other customer-facing positions.

Future growth plans could take Astound into other Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs, with a state license that allows it to “build anywhere” in Illinois, McKay said.

“It will get bigger,” McKay said. “I don’t have a projection at this point, but it will grow every year.”

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