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Lee Bragg, left, with his father John at the EastLink head office in Halifax (PAUL DARROW/GLOBE AND MAIL)
Lee Bragg, left, with his father John at the EastLink head office in Halifax (PAUL DARROW/GLOBE AND MAIL)

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EastLink: The biggest cable company you've probably never heard of Add to ...

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.' "

Cat:e528746c-3414-401a-b14b-50247e3bdf01Forum:d0fa4e14-88d2-41f9-8a19-896bdff9544b

EastLink's numbers

500,000

Number of TV subscribers

330,000

Number of Internet subscribers

210,000

Number of home phone subscribers

11%

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%

2009- 50.0%

Source: CRTC and EastLink

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