RCN, Grande, Wave, enTouch and Digital West Consolidate Under Astound Broadband Name
Rebranding was a multiyear process
Cable operators RCN, Grande Communications, Wave Broadband, enTouch and commercial fiber-services provider Digital West said they will officially consolidate their brands under the Astound Broadband name effective today (January 12).
“This is an exciting time for our company with our new name solidifying our commitment to ‘astound’ our customers each and every day through our national fiber-rich network, fast reliable service, mission-critical connectivity, and award -winning customer service,” Astound Broadband CEO Jim Holanda said in a statement. “Keeping ourselves grounded in our deep-rooted focus on customer service is at the core of what we do. We’ve been part of our local communities for years. Our dedicated teams will continue to serve the areas where they live and work.”
Astound Broadband has more than 1 million customers, which is enough to rate as the sixth largest cable operator in the U.S.
To ease the transition, each region will retain sub-brands under the Astound umbrella — Astound Broadband powered by RCN, in the Northeast; Astound Broadband powered by Grande in Texas and Astound Broadband powered by Wave on the West Coast. The former Harris Broadband systems in Central Texas and WOW properties in Illinois, Indiana and Maryland will follow by mid-year. For business services, the combined companies will be unified as Astound Business Solutions.
In an interview, Holanda said the sub-brands will probably last between 12 and 24 months, and then all of the systems will be branded under the Astound umbrella, “to ease customers and communities into it, to understand that they’re still dealing with the same local management, the same local employees and the same great service and company that they’re accustomed to.”
Repainting trucks and issuing new uniforms to employees has already begun.
In an interview, Holanda said the work to unite the companies under one name probably started about 2½ years ago.
“We knew after we bought Wave that at some point if we kept buying cable companies that we were going to have to unite the brand under a single name,” Holanda said, adding that while several names were considered, “We kept coming back to Astound.”
The rebranding process was further delayed by the pandemic and later by former parent TPG’s decision to sell the company to Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The Stonepeak deal closed in August, near the end of the quarter, which made a rebranding unfeasible, and then 2021, a series of purchases helped push back the date even further. Astound closed its purchase systems in Anne Arundel, Maryland; Chicago and Evansville, Indiana in from Wide Open West for $661 million in November. Later, Grande Communications purchased Harris Broadband.
Cable watchers should be familiar with the Astound Broadband name — it has been used as the moniker for the parent of the five smaller operators for years and dates back to former parent TPG’s 2017 purchase of Wave Broadband. Holanda said Wave purchased a Northern California provider named Astound Broadband about five years ago, which made selecting the name even easier.
“We owned the domain names, we already had that in place, so when we started really digging into the research, not only did we love the [Astound] name and the aspirations of it, the fact we owned it made it almost a no-brainer at that point,” Holanda said. ■
The smarter way to stay on top of the multichannel video marketplace. Sign up below.
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.