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What were the Cable Companies before Comcast?

Though it once was a novelty, cable has now become the most common broadband and entertainment delivery system throughout the US. Around 90% of American households enjoy cable services from the likes of Comcast and other providers. Comcast is a cable system operator, the largest in the States by coverage area, delivering high-speed internet and digital TV services to more than 112 million people under the brand name of Xfinity. If you happen to live in Florida, California, and Illinois, you’re more than likely to find Comcast in your area. This renowned cable company came into being in 1963 as American Cable Systems and was later renamed Comcast Corporation, upon its re-incorporation in Pennsylvania. Comcast has such a strong grip on the cable market that thinking about other cable companies that came before this mega-operator is almost inconceivable. But, what if we take Comcast out of the equation? Are there any other cable companies that historically hold a candle to Comcast? Let’s find out below.

Cox Communications

Cox was founded in 1962, a year before Comcast was created, which is why it competes well with the provider. Cox Communications uses a state-of-the-art coaxial cable system to offer internet, TV, and phone services to its 20 million or so subscribers. It covers more than 18 states and is the third-largest residential cable provider by area. Something you need to know about Cox cable is that its deals are ideal for every kind of user. Whether you go for the internet service that reaches up to 1 Gig speeds or invest in a Contour TV experience, you’ll get more than what you expect from a run-of-the-mill cable company. Its top served areas include Arizona, California, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia. Cox is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia.


Midco, short for Midcontinent Communications, is a regional cable provider, covering much of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northeast Kansas. Though its stature isn’t as large as Comcast’s today, it still holds historical precedence, by being in operation since 1931, a good 32 years before the latter was founded. Midco offers broadband, telephonic, and cable television services to around 1.3 million households and 200 communities in the aforementioned areas. Midco also has a fiber internet service, through which it delivers broadband speeds up to 1000 Mbps to select localities – all under $100 a month!

Armstrong Cable

Armstrong is yet another regional cable provider with a concentrated presence in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, and Maryland. It was an uncontested cable company before Comcast came on the scene, founded in 1946. Armstrong continues to operate low-key today, offering cable television (with video on demand, pay-per-view, personal video recorders, and HD digital programming), Zoom Internet, and cable telephone service, which you can bundle with TV, as per your requirement. Armstrong Cable earned the best customer service award held by CableFAX Magazine and was ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by Consumer Reports, two years in a row, which is something Comcast can’t say with priced, having one of the worst customer services in the country.  

Service Electric Cable TV, Inc.

Service Electric is one of the earliest cable companies to grace the market, founded in 1948, 15 years before you first started hearing of Comcast’s acquisitions and expansion. This cable provider caters mostly to eastern Pennsylvania and the western side of New Jersey. It also offers internet and phone through its partner companies, bringing the best of three telecom services to the table. You can avail yourself of its two major internet packages, should you choose to. One gives you 350 Mbps download power, while the other takes you to a 1 Gig experience. You also get free installation when you order online. Service Electric is the 17th largest residential cable operator in the US, available to more than 800,000 people.

Blue Ridge Communications

Blue Ridge is a regional cable company that you’ll find mostly in central Pennsylvania and the Poconos area. It follows Service Electric as the 18th largest residential cable operator in the United States, and delivers high-definition cable TV programming, along with broadband internet, courtesy of PenTeleData, and digital phone to more than 600,000 people. In addition to digital cable feed, Blue Ridge also caters to those old-school households that still use their analog television. Its internet speeds soar up to 1 Gig, thanks to a fiber backbone.

Wrapping Up

Though Comcast enjoys a prominent position in the telecom market, it isn’t the oldest company to have existed in the US. There have been other providers before and there will continue to be new cable companies that will outshine Xfinity. Just you wait and see.

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