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Riding a Scalable Wave to 100 Gigabit Speed and Cloud-Based, Hosted Voice Systems

WavecrestlogoAvid surfers have always had a keen instinct for measuring the best waves — the size of the curl, the length of the barrel, the distance between wave crest and the horizon — all add up to a thrilling experience.

For cloud-based Web surfing, be it residential Internet or commercial networking, co-location or telephony, choosing the best wave comes down to speed, flexibility, reliability — and access. (After all, what good is a great wave if you can’t ride it where you live or work?)

Wave Broadband is a case in point. The Kirkland-based, gigabit fiber and broadband services company has built a network of more than 5,000 fiber route miles. The “beachfront” extends from northern California to the Canadian border through key West Coast markets such as Seattle and Portland. The company’s wavefront is also breaking in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Yet Wave has also gone well beyond those hubs into suburban locations. In the Puget Sound, for example, Wave’s surf is up in Silverdale, Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend. By focusing not only on major metros but running fiber into extended communities’ homes, hospitals and schools — and where companies can connect up their people and field offices — Wave has earned a potent reputation for both innovation and customer service.

“In the state of Washington, Wave Broadband has been the largest Gigabit service provider since 2008.”

In the state of Washington, Wave Broadband has been the largest Gigabit service provider since 2008. Their high-speed consumer offerings include homes, condominiums and apartments everywhere from Everett to Bellevue, from Redmond to Seattle, and onward.

Wave has just rolled its new cloud-based, Hosted Voice service along the very same lines. For small to midsize businesses of 8-20 phone lines, to those looking for a flexible, scalable solution of up to 200 lines or more, Wave’s Hosted Voice system can swell to meet the needs of  a business over time without the need to capitalize an expensive and quickly outmoded PBX system. The cloud-based phone system can instantly replace legacy, installed PBX switches at a fraction of the cost and runs on Wave’s fiber internet backbone.

Harold Zeitz, Wave Broadband President and COO

“For businesses, the promise of the cloud lies in making core processes both more efficient and affordable than before,” explains Harold Zeitz, Wave President and COO.

“As a cloud-based phone platform, Wave’s Hosted Voice delivers on this promise and is a great addition to our already robust portfolio of commercial Internet and data services.”

We asked Zeitz who has occupied several leadership positions within the Puget Sound tech world, from president of Classmates.com, to COO of the Games Division of RealNetworks and CMO at Sharebuilder, to bring us up to speed on where the company is headed and why Wave customers can count themselves among the best served and most satisfied surfers in the marketplace.

Seattle24x7: Wave Broadband feels like a business that is not too big to care about its customers, including serving locations outside of the major markets?

Zeitz: We recognize that rapidly growing businesses are not just situated in the metro areas where we operate, but in a lot of different areas where a business wants to be able to connect their people and their properties. So while we operate in metro Seattle, metro Portland, metro Sacramento and San Francisco, we also serve the local markets surrounding those hubs. That’s why places like Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties are important to us here in the Pacific Northwest. The Puget Sound is our home. Were we to only be operating nationally we might be missing the communities that are our neighbors.

Seattle24x7: How would you describe the”personality”of Wave Broadband?

Zeitz: We’re responsive, we’re flexible and we are easy to do business with. These factors mean something more to businesses who are growing at different rates and need a variety of services. We are also independent-minded. We own and operate our own network. And we deliver the best value. That’s why our business customers are growing so rapidly. Finally, in this year and next, we are really in an accelerated mode. Since founding the company in 2003, we had been entirely self-funded and consistently profitable for a great many years. Today, with the opportunity to expand our fiber network, we recently brought on additional investment and accelerated our efforts.

Seattle24x7: Your new Hosted Voice business telephone system seems like it matches those same characteristics, especially in terms of flexibility?

wavelogoZeitz: Our newly introduced Hosted Voice product gives businesses the benefits of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology in the Cloud. It benefits from our commercial-grade network with all of the bullt-in redundancy and reliability. It’s also an ideal fit for smaller businesses (for instance, 8-20 phones) up to larger businesses of 200 phones or more. A business will simply pay a flat fee per phone per month, and as their business grows, they can add new users and new features without equipment upgrades or installations.

Seattle24x7: What are your favorite features of Hosted Voice?

Zeitz: The system comes as a bundle and customers can access what they need, when they need it. As a business, having a hosted voice system in the cloud acts almost as if you had invested tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in a company PBX phone system. It also has the flexibility to benefit from our system-level upgrading and adding new features as they come online. For example, people these days want to have the dexterity of transferring calls; for instance moving a call to their mobile phone so they can walk out the door and continue the call or have it ring on their mobile phone. The system provides advanced call forwarding, “Find Me Follow Me,” auto-attendant, music on hold, and much more.

wavehostedvoiceWe have also created handy apps that run on iOS and Android phones that make things easy to manage. The entire system can be managed by logging into a custom Web portal. Individual users have the same easy-to-use control over their own extensions and IP phones.

Seattle24x7: What do customers appreciate the most about the kind of Gigbit speeds they get with Wave broadband and fiber?

Zeitz:  A gigabit connection is always on and instant. The experience feels like everything is at your fingertips.

It’s remarkable, but every year, on average, the data capacity that you and I use is doubling.  If we were to take a collection of one-thousand customers each year for the next four years, they will have doubled their data usage in each of those years.

On the residential side, this usage is occurring as a result of two primary things. The first is that people are streaming more content, including rich media like video and at higher quality. The second is that every home is adding multiple devices that are actively engaged at the same time.  On the business side, the usage expands at a pace where more services are being offered and more data is being shared across their networks.

On the residential side, video is unquestionably driving the need for speed and capacity. On the commercial side, broadly speaking, businesses are exchanging larger payloads to and from their employees and to customers. Our business class services include co-location, virtual cross-connects, PRI, SIP, IP access, dark fiber, and ethernet transport up to 100 gigabits.

Seattle24x7: Where does Wave Broadband stand on the topic of Net Neutrality?

Zeitz: We have always had the position that we want to do what is best for our customers. We peer directly with Netflix, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, and others, so that our customers literally get the fastest possible connections. For us, the answer is easy. Focus on the customer.

Seattle24x7: What about security?

Zeitz: We are able to manage network level threats at our data centers and make sure those do not impact customers.

Seattle24x7: What are Wave Broadband’s near-term plans as a Seattle area employer?

Zeitz: We are adding around 100 employees a year to our workforce, expanding primarily on the commercial side and at key customer touchpoints. Presently, we have about 70% of our employees in the field and 30% in support positions here in Kirkland. We’re adding salespeople, we’re adding technicians and a lot of fiber design, engineering and construction folks as we expand the networks. It’s an exciting time to get involved! [24×7]

For more information on Wave Broadband Hosted Voice for business, visit the link. 

For more information on Wave Broadband career opportunities, give a click.

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