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New cable company Layer3 TV to take on Comcast, Chicago-area cord-cutters

A new cable service is set to launch throughout the Chicago area by Labor Day, hoping to take on Comcast and deter cord-cutters with what it touts as a better pay-TV experience.

Layer3 TV, a Denver-based startup, will offer hundreds of cable channels and online video packaged together in one sleek box, a platform that allows viewers to navigate everything from traditional networks to services like Netflix seamlessly.

Backed by more than $100 million in funding from private equity and entertainment firms, Layer3 TV will employ its own 12, 000-mile fiber network and cutting-edge compression technology to deliver more and better high-definition video, executives said Thursday.

The company even promises that the cable guy will arrive exactly on time — in a BMW i3, no less.

"We're just the next generation of how distribution pay TV is going to be done, " said Eric Kuhn, spokesman for Layer3 TV. "Our products run entirely over managed networks, which is different than an internet product."

Chicago is the first full major market rollout for Layer3 TV, which has been running a beta test in Texas since last year. Other early markets may include Boston and Denver, both of which, like Chicago, have job openings posted on the company's website.

Launching a cable network would seem an anachronism in an environment where cord-cutting has disrupted the pay-TV model and eroded the subscriber base. Cable companies lost about 1.4 million video subscribers in 2014, nearly 600, 000 last year and are projected to lose another 535, 000 this year, according to Evercore ISI Research.

Comcast has fared better than most cable providers, losing only 4, 000 video subscribers in the second quarter, according to the company.

Layer3 TV is banking on better cable service to win over disgruntled pay-TV customers, and keep the cord from further fraying across the industry.

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