Wave Broadband acquires Broadstripe, cable service changes for local customers

November 29, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The cable provider Broadstripe is out and Wave Broadband is in for some Issaquah customers.

Broadstripe filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2009. Kirkland-based Wave Broadband started the process to purchase local Broadstripe assets in August, and received a green light from the City Council to proceed Nov. 7.

Wave Broadband intends to invest $15 million in broadband systems in the Northwest to upgrade offerings and service for former Broadstripe customers.

The changeover could end a long disparity in cable service for Issaquah residents. The major cable provider in the city, Comcast, long offered a broader lineup and more services than rival Broadstripe.

“Hopefully, if Wave is true to form, customers will see an improvement in offerings and cable lineups,” city TV Coordinator Tim Smith said.

Dallas-based Broadstripe served multifamily complexes in the Issaquah Highlands, Providence Pointe and the Kelkari condominiums near downtown Issaquah, plus some single-family residences. The cable provider operates in Maryland, Michigan and Oregon, in addition to Washington.

Wave Broadband serves customers in Western Washington, Oregon and California.

“Our philosophy is to buy a system that may be underserved in one way or another,” said Arah Peck, chief marketing officer for the company. “For example, the company that owns it may not have enough funding to be delivering all the products that the consumer wants. Or, they may be for whatever reason unable to deliver the products that people are really looking for.”

Wave Broadband offers high-speed Internet access and phone service in addition to cable.

“When we buy a system, we come in, we evaluate what the technical backbone is, and then we work to rebuild that system, and deliver the full range of Wave products,” Peck said.

Broadstripe’s reorganization related to the Chapter 11 filing created a challenge for local officials. The agreement between Broadstripe and the city ended before Wave Broadband agreed to purchase the company.

“In the process, we didn’t know if they were going to come out the other side or not, and it doesn’t look like they are,” Smith said.

In the meantime, Smith studied Wave Broadband’s service and record in other communities.

“The nice thing is that the feedback that I’ve gotten from other communities is good,” he said.

The company’s call center, for instance, is in Kirkland. Broadstripe operated a call center out of state, and the location could cause confusion for local customers.

“At the call center, when someone says, ‘I live in Issaquah,’ the person in Kirkland is going to really know what they’re talking about,” Smith said.

City Council members started the process to transition from Broadstripe to Wave Broadband in the Nov. 7 decision. Issaquah handles the franchise negotiation process through a citizen Cable TV Commission.

“Most municipalities are looking to give that cable franchise to the company that is going to make the base in their area happy,” Peck said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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