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Ezee Fiber taps Altice, Charter vet as CEO

There’s a new sheriff in town at Texas-based ISP Ezee Fiber. The operator announced former Altice USA and Charter Communications executive Matt Marino is taking the reins from Scott Widham, who has overseen the company since its founding in 2021. Under his watch, Ezee Fiber is hoping to become a regional force to be reckoned with.

Ezee Fiber is backed by private equity firm I Squared Capital, an arrangement which allowed it to undertake a $25 million expansion in the Houston area last year to cover around 26,000 locations. In a LinkedIn post in March, the company said it is aiming to reach more than 50,000 homes in the Houston metro this year.

Marino told Fierce the expansion is part of a plan “to grow the company into a major player throughout Texas and beyond. The organization is nimble and confident it can pick the right places to build and compete against anyone in the marketplace.” He added that it will likely look to supplement its private funding with grants from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

According to ACA Connects estimates, Texas is expected to get around $3.6 billion of the BEAD program’s $42.5 billion in available funding. This will help operators like Ezee cover nearly 400,000 unserved locations across the state and another 361,000 underserved locations.

Ezee Fiber currently offers four service tiers, ranging from 500 Mbps for $59 per month to 10-gig for $249 per month. The latter positions it as a speed leader within its territory, where it is primarily up against AT&T Fiber (which currently tops out at 5 Gbps) and Comcast’s Xfinity service, as well as several fixed wireless access providers.

Big name background

Marino most recently spent six years at Altice USA, starting as SVP of Inbound Sales and Retention in 2017 and working his way up to EVP of Consumer Services. Since May of last year, he served as EVP of Strategic Initiatives, notably working on the operator’s effort to sell its Suddenlink assets. Altice USA announced in December 2022 that it would keep those assets after all.

Prior to joining Altice, Marino spent four years at Time Warner Cable and another year with Charter Communications following the latter’s acquisition of the former. During his time at Charter, he was VP of Sales Support, working on back office integration efforts.

Marino told Fierce that his background in cable has taught him how important it is to “hold your customers and employees in the highest regard. If Ezee Fiber can drive operational excellence while being transparent and straightforward in everything it does, we will have a recipe to deliver fantastic service to our customers while building an incredible business.”

Earlier in his career he held positions as an investment banking analyst and director of operational finance at Insight Communications before it was acquired by Time Warner in 2012.

With Marino now in the driver’s seat, former CEO Widham has transitioned to a role as non-executive chairman.

"His experience and growth-oriented mindset will be incredibly valuable as we expand our multi-gig, 100 percent fiber-optic network throughout Houston and beyond,” Board Chair Andrew Crouch said of Marino in a statement. “With Matt at the helm, Ezee Fiber will move into its next phase of growth and closer to achieving its mission of bringing affordable, reliable and lightning-fast internet service across Texas."

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