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Provider committed to small town and rural broadband

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | June 28, 2021 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — Diane Quennoz’ business card says her home base is Rye Brook, New York.

But when asked, Quennoz, the senior vice president of marketing and customer experience for Vyve Broadband, will happily tell you where she really lives.

“I tell people I live in 21A. That’s my seat on the plane,” she laughed. “I visit every one of our markets and I’m constantly in motion, day or night.”

Quennoz was in Moses Lake in mid-June to help Vyve Broadband formally celebrate the company’s launch here. In late 2019, Rye Brook-based Vyve Broadband merged with Kansas-based Eagle Communications and Seattle-based Northland Communications to form a much larger company focused on providing internet access and services to small town and rural America.

But between the COVID-19 pandemic and all the time she’s spent in 21A traveling, it took some time to properly celebrate the rebranding of the company in Moses Lake.

Vyve currently operates in 16 states and provides services to around 600,000 households, Quennoz said.

Both Quennoz and Vyve Regional Vice-President Travis Kohlrus said the local focus and the willingness to invest on internet infrastructure in small towns and rural areas is what makes the company different from other big internet providers. This has been especially crucial since the COVID-19-related lockdowns have shown how easy it is for many people to work from home, and how important internet access is.

“We’re a rural market operator,” said Kohlrus, who hails from Hayes, Kansas, a town roughly the size of Moses Lake, about halfway between Denver and Kansas City.

“Investment is needed in rural and small town broadband,” Kohlrus continued. “There are fewer people and less density. And the investment doesn’t go as far in terms of how many customers you serve per-$1,000 invested.”

Kohlrus said Vyve looks specifically for those underserved areas, puts together a building and investment plan, and then works to connect that area to broadband communication services.

“On top of that, this is all done with private money,” Quennoz added. “We’re not using government funds to build our network, so this is literally our investment.”

Both Quennoz and Kohlrus said Vyve is also committed to improving the skills of all of the current employees, as well as the people who have joined the company locally since the merger in late 2019.

“We’re really investing, not just in our network, but in our people too,” Quennoz said.

Kohlrus also said the company is committed to a “100% response and zero excuses” customer service policy to provide the best possible customer experience.

“And that’s our commitment to the community and to our customers,” he said. “That’s important, too, and we think that makes us different.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.