Independent cable operators pride themselves on customer service. Perhaps none do it better than NPG.

After each customer touch, the subscriber receives a phone call. The goal is to "ensure each customer is a promoter of NPG," says COO Bill Severn. Should the customer be dissatisfied, a manager follows up with another call. The manager’s instructions? Make the subscriber a satisfied customer.

But you shouldn’t get the impression that privately held NPG, which serves 100K subs across parts of Arizona, California and Missouri, is provincial when it comes to technology. Oh, sure, the collection of small systems that today is NPG were decidedly low tech when Severn bought them several years ago. “People called him crazy” then he spoke of offering advanced services in these systems, says ACA VP Rob Shema, “but he basically rebuilt his sub base” with technology.

Recently NPG completed a  ber ring through the desert in western Arizona and a 1-gig upgrade in Missouri. The new fiber ring created a master head-end through which HD, VOD and other services can  ow to markets thought to be too small to support these advancements. In Missouri, NPG’s upgrade means it can launch secure voice, video and data to several large commercial accounts.

This combination of new-age technology combined with old-fashioned excellent service is winning over customers. Digital set-top box penetration exceeds 50%, Internet penetration has hit the 60% mark and digital phone is inching close to 20%.

While NPG’s numbers are impressive on their own, they need to be seen in the context of the company’s philosophy. NPG’s continued success is a direct result of a simple, yet potent, set of principles that have guided the company since its inception in 1954:

The customer is No. 1.
Strive to become the employer of choice in each market.
Always maintain  nancial stability.
Quality processes are pervasive across the company.

Innovation  ows naturally from these guidelines. NPG recently installed voice over IP phone across its locations, including two call centers. It’s not only streamlined customer service, it’s saved NPG thousands of dollars monthly by letting employees conduct in-network conference calls.


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IAB Tech Lab Forms Addressable Group

A new collective that’ll lead the development of technology frameworks, technical standards and market strategy to make every TV environment addressable was formed by IAB Tech Lab. It’s called the Advanced TV Commit Group, which hopes to increase interoperability and standardization across TV.

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