The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) offers members access to advanced video platforms to provide affordable, turnkey solutions to meet subscribers’ demand for greater flexibility and choice in video content. Read how member operator StratusIQ used NCTC’s VU-IT! platform, powered by TiVo, to drive their rebranding effort and to reduce video churn

StratusIQ, an NCTC member operator based in Colorado has always been mission-driven. The company began as Falcon Broadband, a point-to-point wireless Internet service provider (WISP) that set out to deliver better Internet service to an unincorporated crossroad area east of Colorado Springs commonly known as “Falcon.” In 2007 Falcon Broadband completed its first fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment and has only built FTTH infrastructure since. By 2009 the WISP business was sold, and the company focused on providing better quality service in their FTTH deployments.

Though the company enjoyed great online reviews and a solid reputation, its market intelligence showed that thousands of customers still did not associate Falcon Broadband with fiber, and thought it only delivered service in Falcon. This perception hampered Falcon Broadband’s efforts to sell high-speed broadband and pay-TV services. “All we had built for a decade was fiber, but there were still thousands of residents who thought we were delivering a WISP service only in the Falcon area,” said Ben Kley, President and General Manager. Despite winning some key RFP’s like the city of Colorado Springs and a large school district, area businesses, and IT pros didn’t view Falcon Broadband as a facilities-based fiber provider. On the pay-TV front, Kley knew they had some catching up to do. “We had also waited too long to migrate out of an analog video platform and had been lagging the market in our set-top box technology,” Kley said.

VU-IT! Powered by TiVo Drives Service Improvement Effort

Falcon Broadband set out to improve the quality of its pay-TV offering and to launch a new 1Gbps residential broadband service. The company chose NCTC’s VU-IT! platform, powered by TiVo, to give its video customers a best-in-class user experience. Like many smaller operators, Falcon Broadband didn’t have in-house product development or video engineering staff to create a new service offering out of thin air, so NCTC’s VU-IT! / TiVo platform gave it a great head start on remaking its pay-TV offering. “The TiVo name is well-known and has a good reputation. Offering a well-known brand helps smaller operators gain credibility with consumers,” said Kley.

When Falcon Broadband’s leaders were crafting their launch plans, they realized it was also the perfect time to rebrand the company.  “The rebrand was needed to drive awareness of our services with the general public.  We do fiber Internet and we provide the best value in communication and entertainment. Some companies rebrand to get rid of a bad online profile, but we had great online reviews from customers that we had worked very hard to build.  We wanted to retain those positive parts of our identity through Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau,” Kley said

Falcon Broadband Becomes StratusIQ

To accomplish the rebranding of the company, StratusIQ engaged a local marketing firm to coordinate changing the company’s online brand through all the commonly used digital platforms. This effort was essential to get the new brand identity, StratusIQ – Fiber Internet to take hold. “It was easier than we thought it would be. We started calling ourselves by our new name, we released our new brand assets and created a new mission statement. We also made sure we got our employees on board,” said Kley. “As much as it was important to bring new products to our customers, it was also important for our staff to take pride in the new offerings that came with the name change.  That’s what kept us from falling into the trap of being a ‘new name but everything the same.’  The new products inspired the staff to make additional positive changes.”

NCTC also provided support to help StratusIQ launch VU-IT!. “The NCTC team helped us through repackaging our channel lineups and organizing our products for moving from analog to all-digital in the headend.  These were the behind-the-scenes changes that were required to get to a point where we could move to the new TiVo platform,” said Kley.

A year after the VU-IT! launch, StratusIQ has seen positive changes in its video subscriber base. The company has increased overall customer ARPU by 9.7 percent in one year. It’s also seen a five percent increase in overall video subscribers and increased customer satisfaction.

On the heels of its successful VU-IT! launch, StratusIQ has plans to leverage another NCTC offering to drive further market expansion. In 2019, the company expanded into five additional communities and two MDU developments. In 2020 they are targeting both MDUs as well as additional large lot communities.  As it continues to expand, StratusIQ is planning to offer Plume’s premium Wi-Fi service to continue its mission of offering the best value in communications and entertainment.