RCN Corporation

This article is about the American communications company. For the Colombian broadcasting company, see RCN TV.
RCN Corporation
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1993 (1993) (as Residential Communications Network)
Headquarters Princeton, New Jersey, U.S.
Key people
Jim Holanda, CEO
Services High Speed Internet
Digital Television
Digital Telephone
Revenue $636 Million
Owner ABRY Partners
Number of employees
1,315 [1]
Website RCN.com

RCN Corporation, originally Residential Communications Network, founded in 1993 and based in Princeton, New Jersey, was the first American facilities-based ("overbuild") provider of bundled telephone, cable television, and internet service delivered over its own fiber-optic local network as well as dialup and DSL internet service to consumers in the Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Chicago areas.

As of 2006, RCN claimed over 424,000 domestic customers and 130 cable franchises. As of 2013 RCN's network covered offered coverage to approximately 3.8 million people making it the 10th largest provider of cable broadband in the U.S.[2]

RCN serves in or around the following locations: Allentown, Pennsylvania; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois (limited coverage); Washington, D.C.; New York City, New York; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[3]


RCN (Residential Communications Network) was originally created in 1993 by developer David McCourt and Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc. Kiewit also owned MFS, a Competitive Access Provider (CAP). In a series of moves, RCN purchased C-TEC, the parent of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Telephone, while MFS spun off its small residential telephone operations to RCN. MFS was later purchased by Worldcom. RCN/C-TEC became a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) when the Telecom Act of 1996 passed.

RCN then began its growth as a cable TV overbuilder, constructing competitor cable systems in markets that already had cable service. Most of its systems were partnerships with power companies, which provided rights-of-way on poles. RCN featured "triple play" television/internet/telephone service, though for some time its voice operations were largely resold incumbent telephone company lines. It purchased existing US East-Coast ISPs Erol's Internet, UltraNet Communications, Interport, and JavaNet. On the West Coast, it purchased existing ISPs DNAI and Brainstorm. In Chicago, it bought into the market by acquiring overbuilder 21st Century Telecom. In Washington, D.C., they formed a 50/50 joint venture with local power company Pepco named StarPower Communications in 1999; they bought out Pepco's stake in 2004, and rebranded StarPower systems to the RCN name.

In 2004, RCN declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and on December 21, 2004, the court cancelled all outstanding shares of RCN stock traded under the "RCNC" and "RCNCQ" symbols. [4]

In early February 2009, RCN converted to an all-digital network. With the transition, the company was able to use the entire spectrum for digital and high-definition television broadcasting, reducing the need to compress signals.

ABRY Partners, a private equity firm, acquired RCN Corporation for $1.2 billion in 2010.[5][6]

Acquisitions and selloffs

In 1996, RCN bought much of C-TEC Corporation.[7] On January 21, 1998, RCN paid $110.5M for UltraNet in Massachusetts and Erol's in Virginia.[8] On June 16, 1998, RCN paid $11 million in stock and $871,000 in cash for Interport Communications, Inc. On July 27, 1998 RCN paid $13.4 million in stock and $2.4 million in cash for Javanet, Inc.

On March 20, 2006, RCN bought Consolidated Edison Communications Holding Co., a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison for $32 million and $7 million in working capital.[9]

On August 18, 2006, RCN announced it was selling its San Francisco operations, representing 18,000 subscribers, to Astound Broadband for $45 million.[10]

On September 13, 2006, Bloomberg News, citing two anonymous sources, reported that RCN hired the Blackstone Group to examine the possibility of putting the company up for sale.[11]

On August 15, 2016, Chicago Tribune, reported that TPG, a Texas-based private equity firm, has agreed to buy RCN Telecom Services for $1.6 billion, giving it control of one of Chicago's largest cable providers, the company announced Monday. In a separate transaction, TPG is buying Grande Communications Networks for $650 million, combining the two regional companies into a "top 10" cable player whose most valuable asset is likely its broadband network.[12]


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