Allen to Invest $1.65 Billion in RCN

Billionaire Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures Inc. Monday invested $1.65 billion in RCN Corp., an upstart telecommunications and Internet firm which is rapidly expanding on the East Coast.

Allen is acquiring a 21.8 percent stake in addition to the 4.9 percent he already owns, bringing his total interest to 26.7 percent. RCN plans to use the money to build out his high-speed network.

RCN (RCNC) offers a variety of communications services, including local, long distance, cable television and Internet services.

In addition, Vulcan Monday announced it was forming Broadband Partners, a joint venture with Allen’s Charter Communications, RCN, Go2Net (GNET) and High Speed Access Corp. (HSAC). The company will provide portals optimized for broadband connections to customers of Charter, RCN and similar firms.

Broadband Partners will offer high-speed Internet services over set-top boxes to RCN and Charter customers.

“Cable companies are uniquely positioned to deliver the next generation of advanced data and transactional services. By linking four of our key investment companies and combining their expertise in various aspects of cable and new media, we are aiming to create a comprehensive broadband portal for the delivery of those new products and services,” said William Savoy, Vulcan’s president.

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