Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - 18

INDEPENDENT OPERATOR OF THE YEAR
Comporium
Our 2014 Independent Operator of the Year is a diffi cult
company to pigeonhole-unabashedly rooted in traditional
values, yet exceedingly progressive. " It's small cable, but
there's plenty to talk about, " is how ACA EVP/Chief of
Staff Rob Shema puts it.
As is true with some of the indies profi led in these pages,
Comporium is a privately held, family run business that
started as a voice provider. It dates to the charter of Rock
Hill Telephone of South Carolina in 1894. Its current owner,
the Barnes family, took the reins in 1912. A cable subsidiary
started in the mid-1960s; Comporium's Frank Barnes
Jr and his brothers John and Ed were among its founders.
Data and VoIP followed. Today the company passes nearly
150K homes and businesses.
Not only is Comporium family run, it's a family company.
Its owners have a deep Christian faith, and the culture and
daily operations refl ect that. For example, Comporium has
never opened its retail stores on Sundays. Meetings after
lunch begin with an invocation. And its programming excludes
explicit adult content. 'Is it good for the children?'
is among the fi rst questions Comporium uses to guide
decisions. Its annual Christmas party is open to its 1,000
employees' families and their children, who are treated to
a bevy of youth-focused activities.
While Comporium's values are traditional, its stance on
technology is cutting edge. " We are constantly upgrading
our systems and offerings to remain competitive with the
largest national providers, " EVP Bill Beaty says. " In some
cases, we attempt to stay ahead of them. " In addition to
TV Everywhere and VOD, the company has a host of home
security and home automation products. Its most impressive
accomplishment is its upgrade of the majority of its
HFC plant to 1 GHz, allowing it last month to launch Zipstream,
its 1-Gig service to both businesses and consumers.
Zipstream features speeds nearly 85 times faster than
Comporium's standard Internet service.
Comporium's progressive thinking led to Zipstream's
SPEED OF LIGHT: To celebrate 'lighting up' its first clients with 1-Gig
broadband service Zipstream, Comporium literally lit the Citizens Building
in Rock Hill, S.C. in Zipstream's green and blue logo colors.
launch despite having few of the tech businesses that
require extreme amounts of bandwidth in its service area.
It believes Zipstream will attract tech-driven companies
and jobs. Its initial two business customers are located
at Rock Hill's downtown, urban business area known as
Knowledge Park. The launch has led to area buzz, and
interest " has been very strong, " Comporium says. Indeed,
as we went to press Comporium informed us that four
more industrial parks will be getting the 1-Gig service and
by early September it will make Zipstream available to 125
of its fi ber-to-the-home neighborhoods in Rock Hill, Fort
Mill, Tega Cay and the surrounding areas.
Comporium's plans for Zipstream are in concert with
its commitment to growing Rock Hill's economy. " For our
community to be successful, we need a vibrant downtown, "
says Comporium President/CEO Bryant Barnes. " Many
projects had fl oundered, so several years ago we decided
to step in and make a difference. " Comporium is completing
a four-story, 50,000-square-foot offi ce building for lease
to help bring new businesses downtown. It's also working
to revitalize the area with a park, hotel and performing arts
complex, which will sit on land Comporium donated. " This
is vital to the success of Rock Hill's growth and development,
which, in turn, is good for our employees, shareholders
and customers, " he adds.
Comporium's commitment to its community can also be
Comporium is the 27th largest cable operator, the country's
13th largest telecommunications provider and 11th
largest privately owned company in South Carolina.
A diversified company, Comporium has interests in the
smart home industry and connected car technology as
well as in data management and storage.
18
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seen through its support of local events and causes through
grants and donations. Its regional Emmy-winning channel
CN2 also plays a role. It " has had a positive effect on increasing
the quality of life in the area... by bringing increased
exposure and participation to area events, " says Comporium
EVP John Barnes.
- Seth Arenstein
July 2014
Cablefax: The Magazine
http://www.cablefaxmag.com

Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014

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Cablefax The Magazine - July 2014 - Contents
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