WOW Makes Strides in Sustainability, Environmental Stewardship

WOW service truck
(Image credit: WOW)

WideOpenWest reduced its real estate holdings by nearly 60% in the past two years and reduced its overall carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30% in 2021, as part of its overall commitment to environmental stewardship, the company said Monday.

In its 2022 ESG/Sustainability report (opens in new tab), WOW said that as an owner of fleet vehicles, it has long recognized the need to reduce CO2 emissions, and uses software solutions, smart routing and home garaging to reduce idling, improve miles per gallon and optimize driving times for field technicians. The company also decreased its real estate footprint by 59% over the last two years, contributing to a 26.4% reduction in WOW's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2021, according to calculations estimated (opens in new tab) by the CoolClimate calculator, a University of California, Berkeley climate research initiative.

Other operators have committed to various environmental and energy efficiency initiatives, including Comcast (opens in new tab), which earlier in the month said it would double its network energy efficiency by 2023 and Charter Communications, which has implemented recycling initiatives (opens in new tab) and other measures (opens in new tab) to protect the environment. 

"At WOW, we are guided by our values of Respect, Integrity, Spirit of Service and Accountability. These values help us responsibly manage our natural, social and people resources," CEO Teresa Elder said in a press release. "In observance of World Environmental Health Day, we are pleased to provide a more formal look into our culture and sustainability initiatives with our inaugural ESG report as we continue to conduct business with the interests of our employees, customers and our planet at the forefront."

WOW has also taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint and seek operational efficiencies in the field and in the home, such as offering energy efficient next generation set-top boxes; providing self-install kits to reduce miles driven and provide customers the option to easily install equipment without requiring a technician visit; and promoting eco-friendly business practices like avoiding unnecessary printing, unplugging less-used equipment to decrease power consumption and using the internet wisely to decrease the need for large data storage. In addition, WOW's corporate headquarters building is LEED certified and the company upgraded its office lighting to LEDs for efficiency and cost savings

The ESG report also detailed company efforts in the communities in which it serves, including initiatives like WOW in the Neighborhood (WIN), where employees are granted one 8-hour workday per year to donate to community service, which resulted in tens of thousands of volunteer hours worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being donated in 2021. In addition, WOW announced a scholarship program in Newnan, Georgia , where nine students at the local high school were awarded $1,500 each to use for continuing education in 2021. WOW’s Arm-In-Arm Fund is a grassroots program funded by employees to assist fellow employees during extreme, unusual and unique situations, such as after Hurricane Michael swept through Florida in 2018, during the early days of COVID-19, and after tornadoes swept through Georgia in 2021.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic WOW Increased the availability of affordable broadband, participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. In May 2022, WOW was part of a select group of internet providers that were recognized by the White House for their participation in the program. WOW is also offering its own low-cost solution, Internet for Education, to provide more affordable broadband to eligible K-12 student households.

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.