Broadband Communities

AUG-SEP 2017

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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28 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017 SERVICE PROVIDER STRATEGIES The Art of the Comeback How a multifamily service provider rebuilt its operation and reputation By Michelle Malecki / Access Media Holdings O ne of the first things visitors see when they enter Access Media Holdings' corporate offices in Oak Brook, Illinois, is a huge display board titled "e Art of the Comeback." is enormous space is filled with pictures of various multifamily buildings from around the United States. ese buildings make up the customers that represent the next direction of the company's fortunes. In each corner of the wall are examples of great comebacks in sports history. ey illustrate what it takes to accomplish an amazing comeback. For example, there's a headline from when the Boston Red Sox came from three games behind to beat the New York Yankees in the 2004 playoffs. Another display shows the Patriots' amazing comeback in the 2017 Super Bowl when they overcame a 25-point second-half deficit to beat the Falcons. "ese sports stories are analogous to what's happening in our business today," says Access Media Holdings' new president, Bryan J. Rader, who joined the company in January. "e wall is symbolic of our overcoming the 25-point deficit. Each property is part of that comeback." Access Media 3 Inc., founded in 2007, quickly became a leading provider of video, voice and data services in key markets across the United States through a dozen or so acquisitions. e company grew to serve more than 120,000 customers after acquiring providers in Texas, Florida, Virginia and California. It soon became the largest distributor of DIRECTV and had well over 1,200 MDU communities scattered across many states. However, in July 2015, most Access Media 3 Inc. assets were purchased by Access Media Holdings in an Article 9 auction. e new company began the hard work of rebuilding a new corporate structure, management team and strategic direction. DAUNTING CHALLENGES It quickly became clear that, given all the past acquisitions, integrating these assets into a cohesive operational set, with consistent guidelines and quality measurements under new ownership, would be difficult. "Given the broad geographic coverage, it was always going to be difficult to offer top-level service and support to all these communities," says Kelvin Fee, senior vice president of operations. Fee joined the company in 2015 from Wide Open West and drastically revised the operational foundation of the business. In the process of acquiring other companies, Access Media had acquired a host of technologies and delivery mechanisms for digital TV, internet and phone. However, most of its focus was on digital TV. "If you look at the assets acquired, Access Media Holdings had a large number of DIRECTV customers – some retail and some bulk," Rader explains. "Internet was not always offered." ese systems included analog, L band, DIRECTV MFH2 and many others. "We were like a restaurant that sold pizza in one location and fried chicken in another," says Arnie Guttenberg, business development manager in South Florida. "ere were no consistencies, so it was hard to be great at any one of them."

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