Getting to Know RCN Cable Better


RCN Cable is one of those small Cable TV companies that I like to recommend so often. The RCN Corporation started in Boston in 1996 to deliver state-of-the-art telecommunications services to residents of the Boston metro area. The year 2005 saw an expansion of services in the Chicago metro area. And in 2006, we saw the acquisition of Con Edison Communications, which allowed them to start delivering services to residents of the New York area.

Through other acquisitions, RCN Cable is now able to deliver its high-end technology services to the D.C. Metro area, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia, on top of Chicago, Boston, and New York.

RCN Cable Began Life as RCN Boston

RCN Cable started out delivering quality Cable TV products to single- and multi-family structures in the Boston metro area. These services have, since the beginning, been delivered through a scalable fiber optic network that allows RCN Internet to be faster than industry standards, delivery of mostly HD channels to TV viewers, and crystal clear Home Phone service. Because it’s fiber optic, it’s easier and cheaper to upgrade as new technologies are introduced.

RCN Cable Offers the Same Services the Big Guys

Swing on by the website,, and you’ll see that RCN cable offers the same types of services as the big three: Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Comcast/XFINITY. For example, TV services run the gamut from a few TV channels to a few hundred TV viewing options. Digital Phone service and RCN Internet,’s branded High Speed Internet offerings are also up to par.

RCN Internet Offers Customers 3 Internet Packages

RCN customers looking for Internet service have three choices, depending on how much bandwidth might be used. For those that might find themselves streaming a movie from Netflix or Hulu while the kids cruise the Internet or maybe do some chatting, the 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) option for about $35 a month should fit the bill quite nicely. This plan is likely to be all that’s needed for most subscribers.

RCN Chicago, in fact, every service area also has the 50 Mbps Internet plan, for about $45 a month for those with a bigger appetite for Internet consumption. This plan offers a data speed of up to 50 Mbps. This is fast enough to allow for two or three movies to be streamed while another user checks email and chats. If this isn’t enough bandwidth for your needs, the 100 Mbps package should fit your bill nicely. Actually, 110 Mbps is enough speed for movies to be streamed to five or six computers/TVs, while one or two others get involved in “World of Warcraft” or “Call of Duty” online.

One Size Fits All with Telephone Service from RCN Cable

RCN Corporation offers its crystal clear digital voice service for about $20 a month. On top of the great sound clarity, customers will have access to over 10 calling features. These features include:

  • Three-way calling
  • Caller ID
  • Call waiting
  • Voicemail
  • Rejection of anonymous numbers
  • Call logs
  • Distinctive rings let you assign a specific ringtone for certain callers
  • Repeat busy call redials busy numbers
  • Variable call forwarding
  • Call return

All calls with RCN Phone service within the U.S. and possessions are free. For those that need to make international calls, there are several international calling plans available. The two Global Saver Calling Plans (250/500 minutes — $10/$20) are excellent for those that call numerous areas around the world. If you mostly call numbers in Latin America, the Mi TelĂ©fone plan allows you to do this for as little as four cents per minute. For example, I can call all my friends in Brazil for about 6.5 cents per minute.

RCN Chicago Offers One Base Package to Build Upon

Cable TV offerings from RCN Corporation depend on where you live. For example, there’s only one base package for Chicago residents to choose from, the Signature Digital Cable with an HD Converter package that runs about $65 a month. This package comes with more than 250 all digital channels, more than 70 are HD, plus access to thousands of OnDemand titles, sporting events, and 44 digital music channels. RCN Boston customers get 222 digital channels and 62 HD channels for about $65 a month.

Moving over to RCN D.C. Metro, there are two base packages to choose from, one offering a digital converter for $55 a month and the other offering an HD converter, for about $65 a month. The other three business units, New York City, Lehigh Valley, and Philadelphia all offer the same basic package with more than 200 channels.

RCN Cable Has an Impressive Channel Lineup

The RCN Corporation website shows a breakdown of the available channels offered by their basic packages. Standard channels include local programming, QVC, A&E, TNT, TBS, and USA. HD channels include History, Syfy, Animal Planet, Food Network, ABC Family, ESPN 2HD, and several others. Pay-per-view options include NFL Redzone, several sports networks, and adult programming.

Premiere Packages Deliver the Extra Content You Demand

RCN has five Premiere packages that deliver the programming that the basic package doesn’t offer. These include:

  • Premiere News & Information
  • Premiere Family & Children
  • Premiere Movies & Entertainment
  • Premiere Sports Package
  • Premiere Total Pack

The Premiere Sports Package ($10 a month) brings you all the sporting events that you won’t see otherwise. This package includes NFL Network, MLB Network, NHL, Golf, and others. The Premiere News and Information Package (about $6 a month) is for those that like their news and information in large chunks. Catch up on famous personalities with the BIO Channel, see new science discoveries on the Science Channel, and stay on top of the markets and business news with Bloomberg Television.

The Premiere Family & Children (about $6 a month) pack is for those that have little children around. Nicktoons, Disney, Discovery Kids, and more await subscribers. The Premiere Movies & Entertainment Package (about $10 a month) is for those that can’t get enough of music and older movies. Get your fill of VH1 Classics, Encore, BBC America, and many more. As you can imagine, the Premiere Total Package is all the above packages combined. It’s also the best deal, only adding about $14, less than the cost of the first two packages combined), to the total cost of your monthly bill.

Multiple Premium Channel Options Available

Most major Cable TV providers offer customers two or three premium channel options packages. You can either get a few from such networks as HBO and Showtime, or you can get everything from one company, or you can combine one or two, RCN is a little different. You can order the Starz Multiplex for as little as $2 a month, or you can splurge and get the Special Bundle Package which includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, and Starz options totaling over 60 channels. For half that, about $18 a month, you can get the HBO and Cinemax Bundle with 14 HBO channels and 16 Cinemax channels. If you’re only interested in Showtime, about $5 a month gets you everything Showtime.

Bundle Up for Savings

RCN Cable also offers your choice of five different bundles combining TV, Phone, and Internet service, with prices ranging from about $80 a month to about $120 a month. These bundles all offer 220-plus channels, either 50 or 100 Mbps Internet, and Phone service. The differences between the bundles are in how many converters, what type (digital/HD) converters, and DVR options.

Photo Credit: Lehigh Valley Live