Sources close to the family say the recent acquisitions and upgrades have been done with a swap in mind. EastLink now has operations in Grand Prairie, Alta. and Delta, B.C., that Shaw might like. It also has subscribers in southern and northern Ontario that it could one day swap for Rogers' customers in New Brunswick.
A swap of the Braggs' non-Atlantic operations for assets closer to home would solidify the regional structure of Canada's cable industry, and organize it around a handful of ruling families - the Rogers clan in Ontario; the Shaws in the West; the Péladeaus and Audets in Quebec; and the Braggs on the East Coast.
The Braggs don't deny the possibility. "If at some point in time there was the opportunity to do some big regional shuffle and we're all better off for it, sure, why not?" Lee Bragg says.
The Braggs can afford to wait. Unlike a public company, they don't have to face shareholders or meet quarterly targets. They say that every option is on the table - from taking the company public, to expanding into the production of media content, to providing home security service through their cable network. But there's no rush: They can think about what's best for the family.
Lee says that he has no desire to turn things over to professional managers. So long as the Braggs own a business, the corner office will always be occupied by a family member. "Sometimes being naive is great, 'cause we didn't know anything about the cable business. I'm a blueberry farmer," Lee says. "[But]as my dad always said, 'I don't know anybody who went broke in the cable business.' "
Number of TV subscribers
Number of Internet subscribers
Number of home phone subscribers
Estimated share of Atlantic Canada wireless market by end of 2014.
Source: Convergence Consulting Group Ltd.
EastLink gaining market share in Halifax
Market share of residential phone lines in Halifax
2005 - 34.9%
2006 - 39.3%
2007 - 43.2%
2008 - 46.0%
Source: CRTC and EastLinkReport Typo/Error
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