July 1, 2010
2010 Top OPS Awards: Technology Award: BendBroadband
BendBroadband may serve only about 36K subs in central Oregon, but when it comes to technology, the op’s new tagline says it all: "We’re the local dog. We better be good."
Indeed, BendBroadband stays ahead "due to our willingness to step up and make the investments on the edge of early," says CTO Frank Miller. That means heavy engagement with CableLabs and the vendor community, as well as a simple commitment to deploy the best tech possible to its small subscriber base.
Case in point: BendBroadband deployed one of the fastest wireless broadband networks in the U.S. late last year when it rolled out HSPA+, boasting speeds up to 15Mbps. "The largest challenge we face being small is scale," Miller says. "[But] with our small size, we are nimble and work to find creative solutions that pave the way for future flexibility."
The MSO’s relentless pursuit of tech excellence earns raves from peers. "If you want to follow a leader like BendBroadband, you’d better be ready to hustle," says Gary Shorman, President/CEO of Eagle Communications. Robert Gessner, President of Massillon Cable TV, notes: "They spend the time to think about the future and take the risks involved to develop new methods and innovations. And they are always willing to share the wealth of their experience with others."
BendBroadband’s other recent tech accomplishments include going all-digital in 2008 and launching wideband services (up to 60Mbps) late last year. And under the determined guidance of CEO Amy Tykeson, the MSO is ramping up to target local businesses. It plans to finish construction by year-end on its "BendBroadband Vault," offering enterprise-class collocation services.
"Small and mid-sized customers are looking for a partner to help them manage not only their voice, video, and data services, but also to serve as a single point of contact for other information technology needs," says Sean Handley, Director of Business Sales.
BendBroadband’s tech leadership is even good politics, helping the American Cable Assn educate policymakers. "It’s a perfect example of why independent cable companies are so important to their communities and as part of our national broadband strategy," crows ACA President/CEO Matt Polka. To be sure, BendBroadband shines. And on many fronts.
In 1997, BendBroadband was the first company in Oregon to provide high-speed data service.
It’s been a family-owned business since its inception in 1955.
Despite its small size, it offers more than 100 HD channels.
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