InvestorsApril 25, 2000
Charter Communications to Build 500-Plus New Headends, Hub Centers; New Equipment Facilities Are Part of $3.5 Billion Upgrade
ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2000--Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) announced today it will build more than 500 new Master Headend, Primary Hub and Secondary Hub structures throughout its nationwide service areas as a part of its $3.5 billion NOW (Networking Our World) upgrade program. The new buildings will serve as electronic nerve centers for Charter's network and will house the advanced technology needed to provide customers with Charter Digital Cable(TM), Charter Pipeline(TM) high-speed Internet service, video on demand and other broadband services.
The new buildings are a key part of Charter's national plan to implement a master headend-to-hub distribution plan and to reduce the number of its headends or cable distribution sites from about 1,250 to under 500. Through this network streamlining, Charter will benefit from numerous operating efficiencies and increased network reliability, while customers will benefit from receiving the most advanced broadband services available.
Charter made the announcement of its new equipment buildings at a groundbreaking ceremony in St. Louis County for a new Primary Hub facility, the first of the 500-plus network structures to be built nationwide. The start of construction on the new St. Louis County facility also marked the beginning of Charter's network upgrade for customers in that area.
"This program represents a sizable commitment by Charter to build an advanced network that will deliver both today's broadband services as well as those planned for the future," said John Pietri, Charter's senior vice president of Engineering. "These new structures boost the reliability of our systems through the use of enhanced security, fire protection and emergency power supplies. Plus, they're built with tomorrow in mind --there's ample room for new equipment to deliver the broadband services of the future."
"This building is about the future -- about how Charter believes in the future of its systems and in the future of the services we can provide to better serve our customers," said Gene Knoblauch, senior vice president of Operations for Charter's Central Region, at today's groundbreaking ceremony. "Charter's vision of a Wired World means using our network for cable TV and high-speed Internet service but also for future multimedia services that bring together video, audio and interactivity."
The construction of these new facilities complements the ongoing upgrade of about 75 percent, or 135,000 miles, of Charter's 180,000-mile network of aerial and buried cable. That upgrade plan implements a hybrid fiber-coaxial architecture that will increase a system's capacity to 750 or 870 megahertz (MHz) and offer two-way interactivity. A hybrid fiber-coaxial system uses fiber-optic lines, rather than coaxial cable, to transport or "trunk" signals around the cable network. The fiber carries signals from the headends or hub sites to nodes that serve no more than 500 homes. From the nodes, coaxial cable will carry the signals the rest of the way.
Each new Charter building will take up to six months to complete, depending on its size. The construction is being managed by The Bick Group of St. Louis and Alcoa Fujikura of Spartanburg, S.C.
Over the next four years, Charter will build more than 200 Master Headend and Primary Hub buildings, ranging in size from 2,400 to 5,800 square feet. In communities surrounding these sites, Charter will also build about 325 new Secondary Hub structures. Master Headends and Hubs are control centers where Charter processes signals from satellites, local TV stations and other sources so they can be transmitted over the cable system to customers' homes. They also serve as processing centers for two-way Internet traffic for customers who use Charter Pipeline high-speed Internet service.
About Charter Communications Inc.
Charter Communications, a Wired World(TM) company, is among the country's leading broadband communications companies. Charter serves approximately 6.2 million customers. Charter offers an array of services including cable television under the Charter brand; advanced digital video programming services under the Charter Digital Cable(TM) brand and high-speed Internet access via Charter Pipeline (TM). Charter is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol "CHTR." More information about Charter can be accessed on the Internet at www.chartercom.com.
"Safe Harbor" Statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding Charter Communications' business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Prospectus.
Charter Communications, St. Louis
Anita Lamont, 314/543-2215
Andy Morgan, 314/543-2217