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Falcon Broadband back to its roots

Falcon Broadband announced in early August that its plan to merge with Prime Time Communications of Englewood, Colo., fell through.Instead of merging, Falcon Broadband filed suit against Prime Time July 31 alleging fraud, breach of contract and fiduciary duty and requesting accounting and declaratory relief.Falcon Broadband and Prime Time agreed to merge in April 2008, but the deal died when federal regulators closed New Frontier Bank in Greeley, Colo., the same month. The bank was financing the merger for Prime Time.”The law suit is really regarding their conduct once they lost their financing,” said Ben Kley, Falcon Broadband’s general manager. “They hurt Falcon Broadband in many ways that were not necessary and they don’t want to be held accountable for their obligations from the services agreement that they had with Falcon Broadband. We expect PTC to fulfill their obligations under the services agreement and we hope to separate ways with them without any additional harm to Falcon Broadband.”Randy De Young, Falcon Broadband’s president, said that attempts to merge Falcon Broadband’s network with Prime Time’s network did not always work perfectly, and, now that the merger is off, his company has to undo all the work that was done to merge the new networks.”If the customers aren’t happy, if there’s something we’ve done or something that hasn’t been done right, they’ve got to let us know,” he said. “We can do something about it.””Now, we can go back to our roots,” De Young said. “What’s important to me is how we take care of the customers.”Being in control of his company’s future in a capital-intensive, highly competitive business is important to De Young.”We have to compete against Qwest,” he said. “We have to compete against Comcast in a lot of situations. We don’t have just one 800-pound gorilla to compete with. We have two.”That competition has been good for Falcon, said Kley. “Out in Falcon, there is competition, which always brings better choice and better service to the customers,” he said.Competition keeps the providers honest, De Young added.The company started in 2003 offering wireless Internet service. In 2004, it began offering video programming, and, in 2005, Falcon Broadband acquired the Sun West telephone company.Today, Falcon Broadband offers “triple-play” services – Internet, cable television and telephone and owns hundreds of miles of fiber optic and coaxial cable, as well as nine wireless transmitters that extend the company’s Internet service to Calhan and Pueblo.Their strategy is to provide triple-play service over its “Fiber to the Home” infrastructure to planned communities such as Woodmen Hills, Banning Lewis Ranch, Flying Horse Ranch and Cathedral Pines.Prime Time had a similar strategy, which made it look like a good fit for Falcon Broadband, Kley said. Plus, Prime Time was further along in deploying Internet Protocol Television.”That’s the future of television, and we knew it would increase our capability in terms of high definition and take advantage of our fiber infrastructure and lower backend costs,” Kley said.He said Falcon Broadband has traditionally avoided over-expansion.”We’ve moved very cautiously, and we still have to move cautiously,” he said.”I don’t think the general public understands always how much is at stake when you expand into different areas,” Kley said. “So we just need to be very careful. Falcon is our home base. When Falcon grows, Falcon Broadband is going to grow.””As long as we avoid gimmicks and are straightforward with what our customers get for what they’re paying for, then most people understand and are willing to support a small, family run business,” De Young said.In addition to son-in-law Kley, De Young’s wife, Cindy, and his son, Brandon, work at Falcon Broadband.”Our future is very bright. Our customer base has been extremely loyal through the difficult time we had,” De Young said. “Falcon is our core business and the reason why we named the company Falcon Broadband. The customers we have and the new ones we want to try to get are definitely what makes Falcon [Broadband] better in a lot of different ways.”Editor’s note: Prime Time Communications did not respond to phone or e-mail requests for an interview for this article.

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