Bresnan Communications Founder Dies at 75

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – William Bresnan, a pioneer in the cable television industry and founder of Bresnan Communications, has died of cancer at the age of 75.

Bresnan died Friday at his home in Greenwich, Conn., company officials said.

Bresnan worked for 50 years in the cable television industry, first as an engineer who designed and built a cable system, then as an executive in some of the largest cable companies before founding his own company.

“Bill Bresnan was Bresnan Communications,” company spokesman Shawn Beqaj said. “He was our founder and our chairman and responsible for the direction of the company and our great success.”

A native of Mankato, Minn., Bresnan designed and built his first cable system in Rochester, Minn., at the age of 25. When that system was acquired by Jack Kent Cooke in 1965, Bresnan joined Cooke’s executive team.

Cooke’s holdings eventually were merged with TelePrompTer Corp., at the time the nation’s largest cable company. Bresnan served as president of TelePrompTer’s Cable Television Division from 1974 to 1981, when Westinghouse Electric purchased the company. Bresnan then became chairman and CEO of the new company, Group W cable.

He left that post in 1984 to found Bresnan Communications, which initially operated cable systems in both the upper Midwest and internationally.

In 2002, Bresnan bought cable systems serving around 320,000 subscribers in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado from AT&T Broadband for $735 million. The company offers cable television, Internet and phone service and employs 726 people in Montana.

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