- Bresnan Communications
name = Bresnan Communications
type = Private
foundation = 1984
founder = William J. Bresnan
location_city = Purchase,
location_country = U.S.
area_served = Montana
key_people = William J. Bresnan, Founder and CEO
products = Cable television services
homepage = [http://www.bresnan.com Bresnan Communications]
Bresnan Communications is a privately held American company that delivers digital cable television, including high-definition, high-speed Internet services and digital telephone service to residential and commercial customers in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado [cite web |url=http://www.bresnan.com/about/ |title=About Bresnan |accessdate=2008-07-01 |work=Bresnan Communications, Official Site ] . The company is the 11th [cite web |url=http://www.ncta.com/Statistic/Statistic/Top25MSOs.aspx |title=Top 25 MSOs - As of March 2008 |accessdate=2008-07-01 |work=ncta.org |publisher=National Cable Television Association |date=2008-04-30 ] largest MSO with over 300,000 customers in its service area.
Bresnan Communications was formed in 1984 originally operating cable systems on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and quickly grew over the next fourteen years adding operations in
Wisconsin, Mississippiand Georgia. In 1994, the company added international operations and with the creation of Bresnan International Partners began operating in Chileand Poland. The company grew again, achieving a level of 400,000 subscribers with a purchase of more systems from John Malone’s TCI. When AT&T acquired TCI, Bresnan began to consider an IPO which would allow for expansion. Before this could occur, Paul Allen's Charter Communications made a $2.1 billion offer for the company's US cable systems. Partners AT&T and Blackstone Capital encouraged the deal which was completed in 2000 and, upon closing, many Bresnan employees became millionaires.
Bresnan re-entered the cable business in April 2002 with the $735 million purchase of the former AT&T Broadband rocky mountain systems which included 300,000 subscribers in Montana. Wyoming Utah and Colorado.
Bresnan Communications currently employs some 1300 employees out of its corporate offices in
Purchase, New Yorkand branch offices in all four of the states in which it operates.
The Communications Workers of America [CWA] represents several organized Bresnan units through a collective known as Bresnan Workers United. Former Bresnan employees have left to work for unions including Al Kogler, current District 7 Organizing Coordinator for the CWA and campaign coordinator for Bresnan Workers United. Bresnan strongly opposes union organizing campaigns. A former employee involved in organizing workers in the Bresnan Regional Operations Center [ROC] is now employed by the Service Employees International Union and represented by CWA Local 7901. Organizing efforts at the ROC focused around payment of preparatory time under the Fair Labor Standards Act for call center employees who were required to log in to computers, wait for system updates, check work email, and complete other start of day tasks but not paid until signing in to the phone system. Currently no ROC employees are union represented.
In November of 2005 CWA along with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers [IBEW] conducted an inspection of public files Bresnan is required to keep under FCC Part 76 rules. The inspection found that Bresnan was in violation in all locations that were inspected. In December of 2005 CWA filed a complaint with the FCC. Initially Bresnan denied all charges but later entered in to a decree with the FCC that required payment of a $25,000 fine, instituting and following the terms of a compliance plan, as well as conducting training and auditing to ensure compliance.
Bresnan Communications focuses on creating strong relationships with both its customers and the community at large. Some of its community initiatives include:
* [http://www.bresnanbusinessincubator.com/ Bresnan Business Incubator] , whose stated purpose is to give grants to innovative entrepreneurs in the states of Montana and Wyoming. This program has been criticized by competitors for several reasons. Firstly, because state agencies -- the small business development centers of the respective states -- promote it and collect applications for it from new businesses, it gives Bresnan what competitors perceive as free services from state government which they do not enjoy, as well as an unfair advantage in attracting new businesses as customers. Secondly, the [http://www.bresnanbusinessincubator.com/cm/component/option,com_wrapper/Itemid,9/ grant application] asks for intimate details of the applicant's business which are then relayed to Bresnan. Competitors are concerned that this exploits the trust which the business places in the state agency to gather proprietary information about prospective customers that is not available to competitors for Bresnan. Also, because the "grants" can only be used to match money spent on Bresnan's own services (as explained in [http://www.bresnanbusinessincubator.com/cm/content/view/1/6/ Bresnan's overview of the program] ), they are, competitors note, really a "buy one, get one free" promotional discount rather than a true grant program.
* Bresnan Safety Net, which includes a website and community safety expo events that educate families on Internet safety, appropriate television use and general child safety. As part of these expos, Bresnan provides free digital child ID's for parents throughout it's footprint. A recent partnership with the Missoula Children’s Theater provides in-school performances focusing on child safety across the four states in Bresnan’s system area.
Bresnan also actively sponsors numerous community and service organizations and events including: the Jackson Hole Film Festival and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and encourages company-wide volunteerism for local organizations in all system areas including Colorado Farm to Table, Montana Special Olympics and many others.
William J. Bresnan
William J. Bresnan was born in
Mankato, Minnesotain 1933, the third of four children of Ann and Robert Leonard Bresnan. When Bill was five years old, Robert died from tuberculosis leaving Ann to take care of the family working as a seamstress.
At 12, Bill began fixing radios for his neighbors working out of his home and the local radio shop. Eventually, he was offered a job at the Northwest Radio and Electronic Supply – when Bill heard that a cable system was going to be built in Mankato, he set up a distributorship agreement with Times Wiring Cable, the company that supplied the cable.
In 1958, Bill, along with engineer Joseph Poire, built the Mankato cable system. When Poire offered Bill the job as assistant chief engineer of the newly minted Rochester, MN cable system, Bill signed on. When the chief engineer of the Rochester system disappeared, Bill took over and for the next seven years led a life filled with family and work.
In 1965, Jack Kent Cooke purchased the Rochester system and offered Bill the position of chief engineer. Bresnan agreed, marking the beginning of a 50 year history as a pioneer in the cable industry.
After merging with H&B American Corporation to form H&B American Cablevision in 1968, Cooke made Bill president. Two years later, the company merged with MSO TelePrompTer (owned by Irving Kahn)and by 1974 had reached a goal of a million customers.
Ultimately TelePrompTer was sold to Westinghouse and after managing the transition Bresnan was determined to create his own MSO and seized the opportunity when he won a bid for five systems in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This was the beginning of Bresnan Communications.
In 2000 Bresnan communications sold their North American cable systems to
Paul Allen's Charter Communications. In April 2002, Bresnan Communications re-entered the US cable management business through the purchase of the former TCI Rocky mountain systems in Montana, Wyoming Utahand Colorado– this is the company that exists today as Bresnan Communications.
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