Layer3 set to take on Comcast in Chicago, reveals Altice as backer

Start-up cable service Layer3 is moving beyond its Texas-based market test and will conduct a full-fledged rollout in Chicago under its own brand, the company has confirmed.

Meanwhile, it's also being reported by Variety that the cozy relationship between the Denver-based startup and Suddenlink Communications can be explained by the fact that Suddenlink's new owner, Altice, is now a Layer3 investor.

"After an oversubscribed trial run in Texas, we look forward to making the Second City first in cable," a spokesperson for the company told the publication. 

Billing itself as a next-generation cable service that can out-deliver incumbents like Comcast and Charter on technology and customer service, Layer3 delivers 150 HD channels, integrated social media, 4K-capable wireless set-tops and DVRs that can record eight programs at once and store up to 2,000 shows. 

Backed by more than $100 million in private equity, the company includes numerous former cable-industry executives and is headed by CEO Jeff Binder, a native Chicagoan, former Motorola executive and a current Chicago Board of Trade member.

Besides being home to Layer3's CEO, Chicago is also controlled, cable-wise, by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA). 

In January, Layer3 launched a trial in Texas under the brand name "Umio." As Variety notes, Suddenlink has been a key partner to Layer3's Texas beta test, even launching a subsidiary dubbed SL3TV LLC, to run Umio.

In building its 12,000-mile fiber network, Layer3 previously disclosed that it is backed by more than $100 million in private equity from media investors North Bridge and Evolution Media Partners. Beyond Altice/Suddenlink, however, Layer3 disclosed that another frequent media and telecom investor John Paulson is backing the company.

For more:
- read this Variety story
- read this Chicago Tribune story

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