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ISE Columnist Sharon Vollman

3 Guys And Some Fiber

Feb. 1, 2022
I’m not a huge phone talker. But, when I saw the caller ID from an old industry friend, I smiled. “Did you read the email and PR I sent you?” […]
ISE Columnist Sharon Vollman
ISE Columnist Sharon Vollman

I’m not a huge phone talker. But, when I saw the caller ID from an old industry friend, I smiled. "Did you read the email and PR I sent you?" he asked nonchalantly with his east coast accent.

I responded with a bit of industry skepticism. "Yes. I wish those guys luck. It’s not going to be easy or fun."

"But did you read the whole thing?"

"No. Just skimmed it. Why?" I asked.

"I’m one of the guys."

"Whaaaat?" I laughed. "Tom! Why in the world would you do this now? I soooo need the back story!" My editorial curiosity was killing me.

Tom Maguire told me the entire story as if it were commonplace. Like a $7.5B PE investment from Apollo happens every day. Like 3 retired Verizon execs would agree to retire their retirement to transform copper-laden assets from Lumen into a fiber-based Internet company serving 20 hard-to-serve states.

I asked if we could do a cover interview with him and his co-founders. He seemed amenable but had to check with Chris Creager and Bob Mudge. I questioned how in the heck the 3 of them could make time given the $7.5B to-do list they had on their respective work-from-everywhere plates.

Still, I acted like it was going to happen. 

Over the next few months, our team did its editorial thing. We shared questions for them to answer. We pestered them about photography and sent even more questions probing into the details about how 3 guys, working remotely from Florida, Arizona, and Massachusetts, would make this entity profitable amid the pandemic’s Great Resignation and supply chain realities. 

Still, they continued to do what they said they were going to do, each serving as their own version of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. 

Fast-forward to now. Bob, Chris, and Tom, are deep in regulatory approvals, network planning, vendor partner vetting, hiring their teams, and dealing with loads of legal stuff that makes me cringe. Yet, they make time to do all of the little annoying things we ask for this cover interview. 

And, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

Why? Because it often seems there are more people who don’t live up to their word than those who do. Especially when they are kind of big deals.

Not Tom Maguire. He’s the real deal. Over the many years I’ve known him, I can tell you he’s always lived up to his word. And, I can confidently say that Bob and Chris are cut from the same cloth.

That’s why I invite you to read my interview with Bob, Chris, and Tom (known as BCT to their team). They share how they plan to run the new company, Brightspeed, differently. (Sure, you’ve heard that before, right?) 

I also invite you to put YOUR skepticism away and not dismiss what they promise to do — as I’m going to do. Because I believe if anyone can make a real difference in bridging The Digital Divide across 20 states, these guys can. 

About the Author

Sharon Vollman | Editor-in-Chief, ISE Magazine

Sharon Vollman is Editor-in-Chief of ISE Magazine. She oversees the strategic direction and content for ISE Magazine. She also leads the educational content development for ISE EXPO. Vollman has created educational partnerships with the major communications and entertainment providers including AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Cincinnati Bell. She has covered the telecom industry since 1996. Prior to that, she worked in advertising with Ogilvy & Mather and CME. Vollman has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Advertising from the University of Iowa.