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CCR Short Takes

News | 07/17/2003 4:00 am EDT

Digital subs fall at Persona; Saugeen Telecable purchased
Persona Communications Inc.’s digital TV subscriber base dropped by 675 to 18,083 in the third quarter ended May 31, 2003, parent company Persona Inc. announced in its July 10 financials. "Although digital subscriber additions in the quarter were disappointing in all regions, the majority of the digital subscriber decline in the period is attributable to the Central region, where a systems operations change (related to the digital addressable controller) was completed during the quarter," Persona said. "Due to problems during implementation, customers experienced numerous digital outages in the quarter, driving subscriber loss. An ongoing labour strike at one of Sudbury’s major employees has also contributed to subscriber churn in this region." During a conference call, Persona CFO Sally Moyer Kent did not provide any further details on the cause of the digital outages.
The cableco’s management also implemented "significant rate increases" across its system during the third quarter. The price of the all-in digital package rose $4 on June 1, including a 99-cent system access fee, and the monthly basic rate rose $2 per subscriber. There were also increases in reconnect and install rates.

Persona also announced July 9 that it had reached a deal to acquire all the cable TV, Internet and telephone assets of Saugeen Group of Companies from a court appointed receiver. Persona agreed to pay $9 million in cash and 750,000 in common shares of Persona Inc. for Saugeen’s southwestern Ontario systems that serve about 17,000 basic cable TV customers and Internet dial-up and high-speed cable modem customers.

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