Hunter Gets Bought, and a New CEO, Wins Awards and Launches Fiber to the Home in Medford. All since April.

by Jim Teece

Via Press Releases and an Interview

Hunter Technician, Trenton Eller, installing Fiber-To-The-Home in Medford.

Big things are happening at Hunter Communications (Medford, Jackson County) during the Pandemic. 

  • They were purchased by Grain.
  • They hired a new CEO.
  • They received an award for the fastest internet in Oregon
  • They are going to roll out affordable and fast Fiber-To-The-Home in the markets they serve starting with Medford. 

Hunter Communications provides ultra-high-speed fiber-optic broadband internet, data and voice services to business and residential customers in communities throughout southern Oregon and northern California, including 2,500 fiber-lit commercial buildings. With Gig speeds, no data caps, and competitive pricing, Hunter’s 2,000+mile fiber network is nationally recognized for performance and reliability. 

The company was founded in 1992 by Rich Ryan and he spent decades building a network, growing the company, and fostering goodwill in the communities they served. 

Hunter built Southern Oregon’s only local fiber optic Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) in 1999, which currently satisfies high bandwidth and voice service needs throughout Lane, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake County. 

Purchased by Grain.

In August 2019, Grain Management, LLC, (“Grain”) a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm, founded in 2007, focused on the global communications sector, announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in Hunter.

Hunter Communications Founder and CEO Richard Ryan said: “Hunter Communications is ideally positioned to further penetrate a growing fiber market with the backing of our new partners at Grain, who bring decades of communications industry expertise. This partnership is proof of the progress the Hunter team has made, establishing itself as an industry leader, servicing our customers for over 25 years. Our team is looking forward to the further expansion of our network as we continually improve the quality of our customer experience.”

The transaction closed in April 2020. Just after COVID-19 shut down the country. 

They got a new CEO.

Michael Wynschenk, CEO of Hunter

In May 2020, Grain hired Industry Veteran Michael Wynschenk as CEO of Hunter. 

Michael is a seasoned executive with senior leadership experience spanning wireline and wireless carriers, more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications and cable industry, and a strong track record of growth acceleration and value creation. Most recently, he was a regional business operations leader in the northeastern U.S. at Altice Technical Services (acquired by Cablevision). He has also held leadership roles at Frontier Communications, BendBroadband, Alaska Communications, Verizon Business, and AT&T/Lucent Technologies. 

“Hunter is very pleased to appoint a leader with Michael’s deep industry experience and proven track record driving growth and expansion in organizations like ours,” said Sam Ackley, Chief Operating Officer of Hunter Communications. “Along with his impressive professional background, Michael has deep roots in the Oregon community, and we are excited to have him join the Hunter family, working alongside us and the Grain team to guide the business forward to continued success.”

“Michael brings a strong combination of sales leadership skills, strategic vision, and operational discipline,” said Michael McKenzie, Managing Director at Grain. “We believe his appointment will help enable Hunter to advance its position as a leading regional connectivity provider.”

They won awards.

In August 2020, they were recognized by BroadbandNow with four 2020 Internet Service Provider Awards, for fastest business internet speeds in Oregon and Top 10 Fastest Nationwide.

BroadbandNow, an organization that tracks and analyzes broadband speeds and overall customer satisfaction, annually recognizes excellence among internet service providers. Hunter won four awards for fastest average speed, customer satisfaction, and affordable plans in the mid-size provider categories:

  • #1 Fastest Business Internet in Oregon
  • #1 Fastest Business Fiber Service in Oregon
  • Top 10 Fastest Business Internet Nationwide
  • Top 10 Fastest Business Fiber Service Nationwide

“Our employees and team have worked very hard to deliver an exceptional service to our customers, while building a world class fiber network right here in southern Oregon,” said Michael Wynschenk, CEO of Hunter Communications. “It’s great to be recognized by BroadbandNow, a nationwide broadband rating company, as it confirms that southern Oregon has access to fiber services better than anywhere in the State, as well as being top 10 in the nation.”

“BroadbandNow highlights excellence in broadband service among internet service providers across the United States. We are extremely pleased to distinguish Hunter Communications with an extraordinary four 2020 BroadbandNow Service Provider awards in both regional and nationwide mid-size categories,” said John Busby, Managing Director of BroadbandNow.

They are going to roll out affordable and fast Fiber-To-The-Home in the markets they serve starting with Medford. 

I had a chance to speak with Michael Wynschenk to find out more about the awards they won. He recently moved to Ashland after working remotely from the east coast for several months. He also mentioned  that he still has a house in Bend, which he acquired while living there and working for BendBroadband earlier in his career. 

He was very proud of Hunter winning the awards and was particularly proud to be an important service provider during the pandemic. Healthcare, Education and Remote Workers demand the always-on, high-speed network Hunter provides. 

Fastest Business Internet in Oregon and Top 10 Fastest in the Nation are very impressive awards. When I asked him what he was going working on now, he told me that they are working hard to rollout low priced, high speed, fiber to the home starting in Medford and possibly Eureka, California. The other markets they serve will eventually get the service as well. 

The flyer they sent me after the interview showed 3-speed tiers with very affordable prices. 

  • 500MB Down and 100MB up for $59.99 (For Life)
  • 1GB Down and 200MB Up for $69.99 (For Life)
  • 1 GB Down and 1GB Up for $99.99 (For Life)

Each tier will include an advanced WIFI Router. You can also add a phone line with unlimited long distance for $20/Month and you can get an additional wifi mesh unit for $10/month according to the flyer. 

Michael also shared that the upload speed is just as important now because of video conferencing during COVID. Each device in the home needs a lot of bandwidth both down and up. If you have kids in school, learning remotely or remote workers, each one will need more and more upload speed to be able to be on a Zoom call. 

The new fiber rollout has started in selected Medford neighborhoods. 

Visit HunterFiber.com to learn more. 

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