This has been a benchmark year for Steve Weed. Wave Broadband celebrated its five-year anniversary and obtained a statewide franchise in California, the only cable company other than Cox to do so.

But we’re honoring this Cable Pioneer not only for his most recent accomplishments, but for steadfast industry leadership — notably for his work with ACA helping guide indie operators through the 1996 Telecom Act — and his commitment to driving new technology that will help propel cable forward for years.

Wave, which serves 145,000 video, 108,000 broadband and 40,000 phone subscribers around Portland, Ore., Seattle and San Francisco, is Weed’s second act on the cable stage. Back in 1996 he became one of the first cable execs to launch high-speed Internet service as head of Seattle-based Summit Communications, which he sold in 1999. As luck would have it, he found his way back to cable soon after.

"I had sold my cable business but I kept thinking, ‘This broadband Internet thing is going to continue to grow.’ So I was searching for the best way to deliver it and looked at a lot of technologies," Weed says. "And, lo and behold, I discovered cable is the best way to do it."

Launching a system brought new opportunities. For Weed, it’s all about homing in on major markets and deploying advanced services. "It’s fun to start fresh and do it right," he says. "We only own cable systems that are 100% upgraded for the triple play today. Our business model is that we can compete successfully if we have all these advanced services." With new franchise freedom, "We’re launching our own product with our own switch in all of our markets on the West Coast." First up, San Francisco.

As a true industry player, Weed embraces healthy competition — which is plentiful in the markets Wave serves. "Of all the companies we compete with, Comcast is the best," he says. "And it’s great to see because they’re cable guys, and we’re cable guys. And ultimately we want customers to see value in cable."

Steve Weed’s Short List for Cable Growth:

  • Interactive advertising "It’s an opportunity for continued growth, not just on the video side [Wave is a test site for Google] but on the Internet, as well."

  • Business phone service "That’s going to be another long-term growth area for the industry, and it’s a huge opportunity. The phone companies are making billions of dollars on that market."

  • Home monitoring "I’ve got a test system in my house already. It’s really all about extensions of the broadband connection to the Internet, and this one seems to make sense."

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