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WOW!
Type Private
Founded 1996
Headquarters United States Englewood, Colorado, USA
Key people Colleen Abdoulah
Industry Telecommunications
Products Cablecasting, Broadband Internet, Phone
Revenue Unknown
Net income Unknown
Employees Unknown
Website www.wowway.com

WOW! (formerly WideOpenWest), is the 12th largest cable provider in the United States.[1]

Contents

The Back Story

During the 1990's, encouraged by work on the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, a number of investors led by local telephone companies established competitive broadcast cable services into various cable TV markets. These entities became known in the industry as 'cable overbuilders',[citation needed] meaning they would build new cable infrastructure into areas where there were existing operating cable systems. By the year 2001 less than 5% of the households in the United States had a choice of cable companies.[citation needed]

Room for expansion

Founded in November 1996 in Englewood, Colorado, WOW! initially served about 200 people in the Denver area after they had completed building their network in April 2001. In May 2001, a midwestern network with the name Americast, was purchased by WOW! for an undisclosed amount per subscriber, estimated to have been at a cost of $1000 per sub. This purchase opened WOW! to over 310,000 new customers. The Americast cable brand was initially under control of Ameritech and served the surrounding cities of Chicago; Detroit; Denver; Cleveland; and Columbus. Americast has also been the brand name used for GTE's cable systems in Cerritos, California and Pinellas County, Florida, and for BellSouth's cable systems in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Those operations were sold to different companies. WOW! is currently providing service in the metropolitan areas of Denver, Detroit, Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, and Evansville.

Awards

  • 2007 Residential Cable/Satellite TV Satisfaction Recipient[2]
  • 2009 JD Power North Central Customer Satisfaction Award for Cable Internet[3] and Phone[4].

Nebuad Spying Scandal

NebuAd were a controversial behavioural advertising company, that exploited private communication traffic to profile internet users.

In February 2008, customers of WOW! noticed that unexpected cookies for sites such as nebuad.adjuggler.com were being read and written, but when they contacted WOW's support department, WOW initially denied that it was responsible for this activity [5].

In April 2008, it was confirmed the cookies were being set by Deep packet inspection surveillance equipment supplied by NebuAd[6].

On July 9, 2008 WOW! suspended the use of NebuAd services to its subscribers.

In a letter to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, WOW! acknowledged using NebuAd equipment to secretly monitor 330,000 internet users[7].

A legal action naming WOW! commenced in November 2008[8]. After NebuAd claimed bankruptcy[9], and ISPs disputed the California juridiction, in December 2009 a class action in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois claimed that WOW! gave NebuAd 'spyware' unlimited access to the private and confidential information of at least 330,000 people [10][11]. Personal data secretly provided by WOW! to NebuAd allegedly included information such as credit reports, downloads, email, internet traffic, political affiliations, personal relationships, job searches and movie rental choices.

The class action alleges invasion of privacy, unjust enrichment, eavesdropping and violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Wiretap Act, and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act[10][12].

References

  1. ^ "Top 25 MSOs - As of March 2007". National Cable & Telecommunications Association. http://www.ncta.com/ContentView.aspx?contentId=73. 
  2. ^ "2007 Residential Cable/Satellite TV Satisfaction Study - North Central". J.D. Power and Associates. http://www.jdpower.com/telecom/ratings/cable-satellite-television-ratings/north-central. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  3. ^ JD Power (October 28, 2009). "Improvements in Performance and Reliability Drive Increase...". Press release. http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2009238. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  4. ^ JD Power (September 16, 2009). "Overall Customer Satisfaction with Residential Telephone...". Press release. http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2009199. Retrieved December 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Data pimping catches ISP on the hop". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/22/wide_open_west_users_with_nebuad/. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  6. ^ "American ISPs already sharing data with outside ad firms". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/10/american_isps_embrace_behavioral_ad_targeting/. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  7. ^ "WOW Letter to the Committee on Energy and Commerce". WideOpenWest. http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/Responses%20to%20080108%20TI%20Letter/110-ltr.080108responseWOW.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  8. ^ "Netizens sue NebuAd, data pimping ISPs". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/12/nebuad_sued/. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  9. ^ "NebuAd knocks at death's door". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/19/nebuad_shutting_down/. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  10. ^ a b "Dan Valentine vs WideOpen West, Finance, LLC". US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. http://207.41.16.133/rfcViewFile/09cv7653.pdf. Retrieved 20091212. 
  11. ^ "Class Alleges Giant Spyware Scheme". Court House News. http://www.courthousenews.com/2009/12/11/Class_Alleges_Giant_Spyware_Scheme.htm. Retrieved 20091212. 
  12. ^ "WideOpenWest Targeted In Lawsuit Over Internet Ad Trial". Multi Channel News. http://www.multichannel.com/article/439890-WideOpenWest_Targeted_In_Lawsuit_Over_Internet_Ad_Trial.php. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  • "Americast sale to reshape cable service". Business First of Columbus. May 25, 2001. 

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