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Layer3 TV is building a new kind of cable company

Layer3 TV is building a new kind of cable company


Private infrastructure, custom tech, and a lot of nerve

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"Nobody likes their cable company" is an old mainstay, and hardly anybody tries to fix the problem by starting another cable company. But that's Layer3 TV's goal. The company has been operating under the radar for a while now, serving a small test market with TV and internet (under the brand Umio) in Texas while it builds out its product. A recent profile in Wired shared more of the company's strategy.

Layer3's biggest edge over the incumbents is the ability to start from scratch — but with a lot of cash and industry experience behind it. It's building an all-IP infrastructure, including its own 12,000-mile backbone and fancy Denver data center. Because it doesn't have to mix in any legacy tech and worry about the traditional cable-spectrum crunch, Layer3 can offer unlimited channels, and higher quality video — including 4K. But Layer3 isn't an "over-the-top" service in the vein of Sling TV or PlayStation Vue, it's real "cable" in the sense that video is piped directly over Layer3's owned and leased networks and into your home — no weird, unreliable "open internet" stuff to get in the way.

In addition to its commitment to old-timey TV channels and infrastructure, Layer3 is taking the oft-tried-never-mastered tactic of mixing in on-demand services like Hulu and Netflix all into one DVR-style box. Presumably those services could be delivered more reliably and at a higher quality by going over Layer3's private network as well.

According to the Wired piece, Layer3 is planning to launch in Chicago and a couple other major cities in the coming months, with prices ranging from $80 to $150 per month.

Is the world ready for another cable provider? We're about to find out.