Wave sticks it to Comcast in Santa Maria, California, with muni broadband network

Wave Broadband truck
(Wave Broadband)

Already battling Comcast over regional sports network fees, Wave Broadband is now facilitating an issue that is of particular irritation for the No. 1 U.S. cable operator: municipal broadband.

Private-equity-owned Wave just announced that it has been contracted by the beach city of Santa Maria, California, about 150 miles up the coast from Los Angeles, to build a fiber-based municipal broadband network. Santa Maria’s cable charter currently belongs to Comcast. 

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“Wave has the expertise and understands the complexities of the various projects that will tie our fiber system together and meet our connectivity goals, so that Santa Maria will become … the first truly gigabit City on the Central Coast,” said Mayor Alice Patino in a statement. 

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“The city’s leadership and overall support were key in our decision to make the investment in Santa Maria,” added Paul Koss, senior VP of business solutions with Wave. “We have developed a great long-term partnership that will support the city’s goals of driving economic growth and becoming a regional technology hub.”

Comcast has been an aggressive opponent of municipal broadband service, investing millions of dollars in lobbying efforts to stop efforts in places like Seattle and Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Last week, FierceCable reported that Comcast appears to be working with conservative think tanks including the American Enterprise Institute to astroturf the muni broadband issue using similar strategies employed several years ago to shape net neutrality rule-making. 

Wave delivers fiber broadband and TV services to around 129,000 subscribers in the Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland markets, and competes with Comcast in many of those areas.