Comcast begins N.H. Adelphia takeover

The long-awaited takeover by Comcast of the bankrupt Adelphia Communications’ holdings in New Hampshire is finally beginning this week.

A total of about 100,000 cable TV and high-speed Internet subscribers in some 50 New Hampshire communities will be affected by the switch, which will be taking place over the next six months, according to Marc Goodman, a spokesman for Comcast.

The takeover is part of the national more than $12 billion acquisition of Adelphia’s assets by Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which hammered out the deal a year and a half ago. The arrangement dragged on for so many months because of its complicated financial and regulatory details.

In total, the two firms will be sharing a total of approximately 5 million basic cable subscribers.

In New Hamsphire, Goodman said, former Adelphia subscribers will be switched over next six or so months as Comcast integrates and evaluates the newly acquired cable systems.

Goodman said “prices will not change as a result of this transaction.”

He also said the company “will be communicating with customers frequently, using a variety of methods,” incoluding e-mail, direct mail and advertising in newspapers and elsewhere. “We’ll be communicating with our customers early and often,” Goodman said.

Cable Internet customers will have to change their e-mail addresses because of the change, Goodman said, but the transition will take place through 2007, providing an extended period during which e-mails to the old address will be forwarded to the Comcast address.

In the national deal, Comcast has added about 1.7 million additional basic subscribers for a total of approximately 23.3 million owned and operated customers, with about 3.5 million additional subscribers held in various partnerships attributed to it. Time Warner has gained cable systems with approximately 3.3 million basic subscribers. Time Warner Cable now manages a total of approximately 14.4 million basic subscribers. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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