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Contec Opens Spigots On Set-Top Repair Data Streams

Contec Holdings, the cable and telecom equipment refurbishment firm in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, is introducing enhanced capabilities of its QuickTest system aimed at letting MSOs better track set-top testing and repair data.

The vendor’s QuickTest service now will provide customers real-time access to a comprehensive database for monitoring efficiency, pass rates and performance for all reverse logistics or return-loop operations; automated notification to MVPDs about performance abnormalities and preventive maintenance needs; and automated updates of billing system status and software loads.

That data can then be shared across operators and repair centers, which Contec said will provide diagnostic information that can help service centers improve repair effectiveness.

QuickTest can process more than 100 devices per hour with 24-slot test-stations that can simultaneously test any mix of set-top boxes regardless of manufacturer or model.

“Ensuring [set-top box] reliability and availability are critical to customer satisfaction and MVPDs’ bottom lines,” Contec chief operating officer Wes Hoffman said in a statement. “Using advanced IT approaches, we’re continuing the evolution of QuickTest as a thoroughly unified, seamless source for fast, accurate testing, identification of performance trends, proactive maintenance and upgrades and rapid, best-in-class repairs.”

Contec will feature the enhancements to the QuickTest system at the SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo trade show Oct. 17-19 in Orlando, Fla.

Contec, which is owned by Bain Capital, filed for bankruptcy protection in August. Last week, a bankruptcy court judge approved Contec’s prepackaged reorganization plan, under which the company will cut its long-term debt by about $300 million.

According to Contec’s bankruptcy filings, in mid-2011 a large unnamed service provider customer decided to stop repairing a number of set-top box models “in favor of replacing broken boxes with new set-top boxes capable of providing more extensive services. Halting orders for repair of the affected models for this customer resulted in an immediate decline in the company’s repair volume and a significant revenue drop.”

The company listed liabilities totaling $372.6 million and current assets of $54.6 million as of March 31, 2012, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Aug. 29.

Schenectady, N.Y.-based Contec annually services some 2 million cable set-tops and provides logistical support services for more than 12 million customer-premises equipment units. The company had $153.6 million in revenue in 2011, down 9.4% year over year, and a $30.6 million net loss versus a $38.6 million net loss the year prior, according to its bankruptcy filings.

Contec, founded in 1978, says it handles more than 360 different types of set-top boxes and CPE devices. It operates facilities in Schenectady, Seattle, Mexico City and Matamoros, Mexico, where it opened a 240,000-square-foot service facility in January 2009.

Bain Capital -- previously headed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- acquired Contec in 2008 from American Capital.