A Look Inside Wave's Gigabit Deployment

Nov. 28, 2017
Wave Broadband announced recently that its Gig Speed Internet service is now available for residential and business customers throughout its footprint in Washington, California and Oregon. The network is powered ...

Wave Broadband announced recently that its Gig Speed Internet service is now available for residential and business customers throughout its footprint in Washington, California and Oregon. The network is powered by 7,500 route miles of fiber.

Rob Katz, executive vice president at Wave, explained that some cases involve fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), some communities use RFoG, and some have fiber to a node in a neighborhood.

"This launch in many ways is the culmination of the fiber network we've been building for the past several years through a combination of construction and acquisitions," Katz said. "To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has actually launched gigabit service on a network-wide basis."

This expansion followed on the provision of Wave G gigabit service to multiple dwelling units (MDUs) in several markets, including San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, where Wave has actually provided gig service for a decade. In most cases, Wave has offered two speeds to buildings, 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. About 44% of new customers sign up for the gigabit speed tier.

"We've experienced strong interest in the Wave G offerings. It supported our longstanding belief that residential and small business customers want the fastest, most reliable connections possible at an affordable price," Katz said.

The Wave G experience has taught the company a lot about educating consumers concerning what to expect from their gigabit service and how to best take advantage of the speeds. A customer using a first-generation tablet over WiFi won't experience gig speeds, for example.

"Delivering gig speeds to a customer's home really means that we are providing the fastest Internet that their devices can handle," Katz said.

To expand the capacity of its network, Wave changed how its TV signals were being transmitted from the video aggregation point to customers. As a result, some customers needed to have a set-top box installed between the outlet in their room and their TV. In most cases, Wave was able to send the equipment, but in other cases, Wave had to schedule a visit.

"We strive to avoid making changes that trigger an action from our customers, but this update couldn't be avoided. We've been very purposeful about the process, ensuring that we have a robust network backed by solid service, before officially announcing (the Gigabit service)," Katz said.

Wave is offering Gig Speed Internet for residential customers at a promotional rate of $80 per month for the first year, with unlimited data. After that time, the monthly rate will go up to $99.

Wave Gig Speed for Business is designed for smaller businesses and includes no limits on data usage. Wave Business also provides gigabit and faster fiber solutions for larger enterprise companies.

Wave Broadband is in the process of being acquired by TPG Capital, which also owns RCN and Grande Communications. The deal between Wave and TPG is in the final stages of regulatory approvals. Wave itself bought Seattle-based Internet service provider Cascadelink in April.