With the dawning of a new year, commercial fiber services providers RCN, Grande Communications and Wave Broadband have officially consolidated their brands as “Astound Broadband.” The company will use the monikers Astound Business Solutions (for the commercial services group that includes the channel partners team) and Astound Wholesale (for the wholesale channel). In particular, Astound Business Solutions offers advanced technologies that will be delivered over a diverse, carrier-grade network. While the company provides coast-to-coast connectivity, it maintains a local, customer-centric approach, with a dedicated, around-the-clock, on-hand staff of industry experts. “This is an exciting time for us as we solidify our commitment to ‘astound’ our customers and partners each and every day,” said company senior vice president of business solutions, Gus Chimos. “This comes through our national fiberrich network, fast and reliable service, mission-critical connectivity and awardwinning customer service.” The transition, however, was not without its roadblocks. Astound’s evolution took more than a year to complete, due to having to navigate the pandemic and an acquisition by Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. To underscore its regionalservice focus, however, the business will retain the original brand names under its own umbrella for the next 18 to 24 months. By unifying its systems, processes and products – across all brands – Astound hopes to gain more opportunities for its wholesale and channel partners. Chimos also indicated that there are no plans to change pricing and service packages. Astound Business Solutions is an incumbent provider in close to half of its markets and plays the role of challenger as an over-builder throughout its other service areas. That unique position allows it to adapt to business conditions on an individual market basis, tailoring service packages to match the diverse competitive characteristics of the marketplace. “We continue to make investments in systems and processes,” said Chimos, “as we look for opportunities to provide even better service to our indirect partners, while also giving them more choices, options and support. Our family of brands serves eight of the top 10 metro markets in the country, and we have the flexibility to work hand in hand with our partners.” According to Chimos, the name is changing, but the legacy of the wholesale channel to provide reliable, nimble network solutions across the nation will only strengthen with a unified brand. Likewise, the channel partners team will continue to work with a select group of nationally recognized suppliers to offer their customers a better choice. “Nothing is changing,” said the exec. “We provide diverse access options allowing our indirect channel partners to separate themselves from legacy LEC routes and product offerings.” In that respect, 2022 signifies more than just a name change. Astound’s 2021 acquisition of fiber provider Harris Broadband, which serves central Texas, has helped extend its network footprint throughout that region, in addition to the assets it purchased from WideOpenWest (WOW!) in Chicago, Ill; Evansville, Ind.; and Anne Arundel, Md. Over time, Astound is expected to continue to edge out its network to adjacent areas while also being opportunistic with greenfield builds, particularly in the commercial services arena. Per Chimos, this will lead to more opportunities for Astound’s channel and wholesale partners, with whom he looks forward to working. Integration of the companies is now underway, with both scheduled to adopt the new branding by mid-2022. And while Chimos contends that M&A activity has “cooled off” as of late, Astound is always on the lookout for strategic opportunities to support its existing operations and extend its networks, either organically or via acquisition. “Stay tuned,” smiled Chimos. “We will continue to grow and improve our ability to support our customers and indirect partners.” o PROFILE Astound Broadband: A New Name for Familiar Services CORE COMMUNICATIONS Astound National IP Backbone 44 CHANNELV ISION | JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2022 By Brady Hicks