IBBS Buying SinglePipe

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Integrated Broadband Services has an agreement to acquire SinglePipe, the voice over IP provider for cable companies.

Combined under the IBBS brand, the company will offer fully integrated voice and data solutions for cable operators that want to expand residential and commercial service offerings, IBBS said in a release. Financial terms were not released but the companies said the deal is expected to close within 30 days.

IBBS provides advanced back-office systems, technical support services and data and voice applications to cable operators. SinglePipe offers voice over IP-enabled communications through an owned and operated facilities-based network to cable companies throughout the country.

The two firms have been offering a combined voice and data product for the past two years, including to cable operator Northland Communications. In the IBBS release, Northland CEO John Whetzell said: "Today, we rely on IBBS for data provisioning, network operations, and customer care. We also contract SinglePipe to support Northland phone services in the Southeast and parts of the West. The consolidation of these companies provides a combined source for data and voice and gives us confidence that we are even better positioned to provide an excellent telephone and Internet service to our customers."

Dave Keil, the IBBS CEO, said in an interview that IBBS customers increasingly have asked for a combined voice and data offering, particularly to serve commercial customers in the territories served by so-called Tier 2 and Tier 3 cable operators (which he said most define as any operator smaller than the top seven MSOs). IBBS has been targeting commercial customers because their service requirements are more challenging than residential subscribers.

He estimated the potential market for commercial customers cable operators could serve with voice and data solutions in such markets as between 250,000 and 300,000.

Keil also said there was only so much integration that could be done between IBBS and SinglePipe without IBBS owning the SinglePipe facilities.

Atlanta-based IBBS, founded in 2001 by two former Prestige Cable executives, is exhibiting this week at the Independent Show in Baltimore (booth 212). Pamlico Capital acquired a majority ownership in 2007 and brought in Dave Keil as CEO, according to the IBBS Web site.

A year ago, Singlepipe, based in Louisville, Ky., raised $5.1 million in equity funding from existing investor Chrysalis Ventures plus Meritus Ventures and the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. At that time it promoted Jeff Carr to CEO and brought in Cynthia Carpenter as COO.

IBBS said Carr and SinglePipe CFO Scott Edelen would not be joining the combined firm. Otherwise, IBBS will be adding SinglePipe's 20 employees to the IBBS team of 240. The companies combined have more than 200 cable operator customers, he said.

In another sign of the interest from vendors in marketing voice and data solutions to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cable operators, vendor XCast Labs also said Monday, at the Independent Show, that Mullan Cable TV Inc. will use its proprietary digital voice and video platform to provide enhanced services to its Idaho customer base.

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