TDS appoints CoBridge veteran Mark Barber to oversee emerging cable operations

TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS) on Wednesday named cable industry veteran Mark Barber as its new VP of Cable Operations, a segment that the telco bolstered when it purchased Baja Broadband last week.

Barber will be charged with shaping TDS' entry, strategy and integration of its cable business. He brings a long track record of cable experience to TDS.

Before leading two e-commerce start-ups, Barber was the COO of Cobridge Communications, where he developed the business plan and secured debt and private equity support for the acquisition of 36 cable television markets with annual revenues of $65 million. In addition, he led divisions at other large cable MSOs such as Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA).

Although TDS had some cable operations which it maintained from acquisitions of other telcos over the past two decades, its recent acquisition of Baja Broadband marked a major step the telco is taking to move into the cable broadband space.

The telco believes that pursuing the cable space will enable it to accomplish two goals: Expand its video service base and extend its growing portfolio of cloud and managed services to Baja's existing business customers that have been traditionally underserved.

Since TDS is still a relatively new player in the TV market, the purchase of Baja helps TDS improve its position to negotiate rates for video content.  

On the business services side, TDS plans to leverage the various data center, cloud and IT services it houses under its TDS Hosted & Managed Services, LLC (TDS HMS) subsidiary.  

"We plan to use our expertise in delivering exceptional products and services to improve the residential customer experience and increase retention and customer lifetime value and we will leverage our reputation as a trusted advisor to businesses and our expensive commercial product portfolio to build a strong commercial customer base in Baja's markets that are currently underserved," said David Wittwer, President and CEO of TDS Telecom, during the company's fourth quarter earnings call.

In Q4 2012, TDS Telecom reported growth in both consumer triple play bundles and managedIP services. ILEC triple play penetration, which includes its Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) partnership and its own IPTV video service set, rose 31 percent in the quarter, while managedIP (both ILEC and CLEC) grew 77 percent to 94, 600 customers.

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