Keeping the Space Coast Connected

With television viewing at an all-time high and with 99{099636d13cf70efd8d812c6f6a5a855fb6f8f27f35bea282d2df1d5ae896e2c2} of American households in possession of at least one television set, it has become crucial for service providers to keep up with consumer demand.

Bright House Networks in Central Florida has undertaken a massive service enhancement overhaul that started with an upgrade to 100 high definition channels in the standard digital cable package and the launch of the Bright House Sports Network, a new sports channel devoted solely to local sports coverage (high school, college and professional).  Bright House also launched Start Over™, a new service that allows digital cable customers to literally start a show over right from their remote, in January this year.

However, it is not only cable customers that are benefiting from Bright House’s upgrades and innovations.

“We have invested $200 million in capital spending in the Florida market on the high speed data side alone,” says Paul Hanson, Vice President of Operations and General Manager for the Central Florida area.  “Eighty percent of our new customers choose Bright House as their Internet service provider, so we need to make sure we have faster speeds and competitive prices.”

Bright House’s Internet service was launched in 1999 (in Florida), when the company was still part of Time Warner Cable.  Now a household name in Central Florida, Bright House Networks was created in 2003 when Advance/Newhouse Communications struck a deal with Time Warner Entertainment to take over several partnership cable systems across the United States.  Today, the Tampa Bay/Central Florida cable cluster, which serves the Tampa-Orlando-Melbourne metro area, accounts for 85{099636d13cf70efd8d812c6f6a5a855fb6f8f27f35bea282d2df1d5ae896e2c2} of Bright House’s television business and forms one of the country’s largest cable clusters.  As such, Bright House is positioned as the primary service provider for over 2 million people in Central Florida alone.

Reaping the Benefits

Because of the sheer size of Bright House’s influence in the area, Central Floridians are at an advantage for several reasons.

First, Hanson explains, “Bright House Networks brings a lot of talent into Central Florida.  It is a magnet for the best people in the company and what we develop here, as far as policies and practices go, tends to set the companywide standard.”

For example, the local focus on customer service has become company practice, and has garnered Bright House six J.D. Power and Associates awards for customer satisfaction.  The company has been recognized for both residential telephone and high speed Internet customer satisfaction.  Bright House’s commitment to customer service directly benefits local customers.

In addition, as the seventh largest multiple cable system operator in the country, Bright House is constantly expanding its technical facilities to meet customer demand.  “For example,” Hanson continues, “we expanded into West Viera while it was still in its early building phase, and we acquired a partnership system from Comcast last year near Mims.”

This means that service is waiting on customers, not the other way around.  In a highly competitive communications market, availability is crucial.  If a cable line is already outfitted in a new home, it becomes much easier to activate existing service than to schedule a new installation.

Moreover, maintaining state-of-the-art facilities that are outfitted for future technological growth allows Bright House to seamlessly upgrade Internet bandwidth or add new interactive services like Start Over™ without having to change any fiber optic lines or servers.

But, award-winning customer service and state-of-the-art facilities are not the only advantages Brevardians receive.

Employment Opportunity

“We have not had any layoffs and have a very stable workforce,” adds Hanson.  In fact, Bright House has actually doubled their total employment in Brevard County in the past 10 years. They now have 480 employees and 150 contractors in the area.

Hanson further explains that Bright House employees tend to be tenured and benefit from company training and company-sponsored community outreach programs.  In short, Bright House provides an environment where people want to work.

“Community involvement is part of our corporate culture,” adds Jim Platman, Program/Community Relations Manager.  “We have a community involvement committee that coordinates all of our walks, drives and fundraisers, and we try to help as many organizations as we can.”

Bright House’s commitment to philanthropy dates back 38 years (while still Florida TV Cable), when the company started a local origination channel for organizations to use to produce programming for the local community.

Today, around 25{099636d13cf70efd8d812c6f6a5a855fb6f8f27f35bea282d2df1d5ae896e2c2} of Bright House employees are actively involved in company-sponsored outreach and they support local organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, the Brevard Schools Foundation and the Brevard Cultural Alliance, to name a few.

“We have had book drives, canned food drives, raffles…all sorts of different programs,” Platman continues.  “Not everyone at the company can participate in weekend or evening events, so we try to make sure there is something at work that they can get involved in.”

When employees are not involved in social outreach, they are hard at work developing new services and products for consumers.

New Features

For example, Bright House has another new service, Look Back, tentatively scheduled for a second quarter launch this year.  It will piggyback on the Start Over™ concept but will allow customers to go back as far as three days to watch any programming they may have missed.

In addition, Bright House, along with a number of other companies including Comcast and Google, has invested in Clearwire Corporation, a business that is currently developing a new wireless broadband voice and data service.  The new Clearwire product would give Bright House customers high speed Internet and voice service wherever they are.

“It is currently in the testing phase,” supplies Hanson.  “But we are confident that we will eventually have a fourth product to offer.”

All of this growth and development is done with the customer in mind.  “We are big believers that what is good for the customer is good for the company,” concludes Hanson.  “This is our world…we do not ship our products overseas or out of the area…so we are really invested in it.”