Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018 - 6
201 8 TOP OPS AWARDS
MSO OF YEAR
When its peers were looking at shrinking video margins and painful
programming negotiations, Cable ONE was shifting its focus to highspeed
data. Viewed by many as a bit of an experiment, the MSO is
showing through steady ARPU growth that this is a long-term path
forward vs a trial.
" Our goal has always been to provide value to our customers-$55
for 100 Mbps service represents that value; our WiFi ONE service
amplifies it; and our reliability, combined with our local office presence
and 24/7 tech support magnifies it even further, " says CEO Julie
Laulis. " Our associates live and work in the communities we serve, so
in most cases we are supporting our friends and neighbors. "
Laulis, who replaced Tom Might as CEO last year, has learned the
business from the ground up. She got her start as a customer service
rep for Hauser Communications (Arlington Cable Partners) in 1984.
" Our industry is so dynamic that boredom is not a potential threat, and
growth is plentiful-for both people and companies, " she says.
That's a principle Cable ONE has tried to embody, with the average
company tenure at about 10 years-above a US average of four years.
Management's appreciation of its more than 2300 employees was on
stage-literally-in June, when COO Mike Bowker brought nine frontline
employees to NYC to accept the Cablefax MSO of the Year honor.
" It's these folks who actually earned MSO of the year, " he said, introducing
a group that ranged from sales to HR to technical support.
One of the company's key tenets is " You Make Cable ONE " and
that extends to the communities served, with associates spending
thousands of hours each year volunteering. It's that spirit that Laulis
singles out when she reflects on her proudest moments at the company,
recalling Cable ONE's recovery from natural disasters such as
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Joplin tornado in 2011 and last year's
Hurricane Harvey on the Texas Coast. " During and in the aftermath
of these devastating events, the very best of our associates and
uCable ONE is among the 10 largest US cable companies,
serving nearly 800,000 residential and business
customers in 21 states.
uThe company's Gigabit service " GigaONE " is available
to residential customers across more than 98 percent of
its legacy footprint, making more than 200 communities
across the country Gigabit cities.
uCable ONE announced in January 2017 that it would
purchase NewWave Communications for $735 million in an
all cash transaction. The deal was completed in May 2017.
company comes out, " she says. " The teamwork, support, and concern
of our people for their fellow associates and the communities
that have been impacted truly exemplify the Cable ONE spirit. "
Last summer, Cable ONE closed on its $735 million NewWave Communications
acquisition, adding customers in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. The integration has
included rolling out 1-Gig speeds in those systems. But the company
also has been focused on making sure NewWave employees feel
like part of the team. " We're fortunate in that NewWave's culture
was very similar to that of Cable ONE, and I think these efforts went
a long way in letting NewWave associates know that we shared a
common ground, " Bowker says.
Part of the employee integration has included incorporating NewWave
managers and tech into Cable ONE training programs so that
best practices from both companies can be brought into operational
strategy. " Our mantra since the acquisition of NewWave has been
'Stronger Together' and that truly has come to fruition, " Bowker says.
From an operations standpoint, Cable ONE continues its emphasis
on internet. That means not only increasing speeds, but ensuring
network reliability and technical support to ease customers' busy
lives, Laulis says. While the company's de-emphasized video, it does
offer OTT options, such as Netflix and Hulu, directly to customers
through its TiVo DVR. " We would be open to other partnerships as
well, as long as it makes economic sense for both Cable ONE and for
our customers, " Laulis says.
Looking ahead, Cable ONE continues to keep an eye out for M&A
opportunities, with Laulis saying the company will prudently explore
options that would help " further cement our role as a natural aggregator
of non-urban cable assets. " But she doesn't think scale
is needed to deliver a quality product, with the company instead
always looking for ways to make customer happier. " Although
our customer service scores remain high, our focus is on creating
exceptional customer experiences that set us far apart from our
competition, " she says. n
- Amy Maclean
Cablefax: The Magazine
Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cablefax The Magazine - July 2018
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