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GRANDE COMMUNICATIONS UPGRADES CENTRAL TEXAS NETWORK

AUSTIN, TX, August 3, 2012 - Cable, Internet and telephone provider Grande Communications has wrapped up a three-year project to upgrade its network, and is gearing up for what executives say will probably be the company's biggest advertising campaign ever.

In Central Texas, Grande serves portions of Austin and San Marcos, where it's based. Its Austin coverage area is primarily in neighborhoods near downtown, president Matt Murphy said, as well as several apartment complexes citywide.

The company also has customers in Corpus Christi, Midland, Odessa, San Antonio and Waco.

Statewide, Grande has about 150,000 subscribers, said Murphy, who has led the company for three years. About half of its 650 employees, including Grande's technical support staff, are based in Central Texas.

"We've spent a lot of time, effort and money investing in our network," Murphy said. "We wanted to have as many products as possible so no one ever has a reason to leave us."

Grande didn't disclose the amount it spent on the upgrades.

Next up, Murphy said, will be an expansion of Grande's local network, making its services available to homes and businesses beyond Central Austin. That work is at least a year away, he said.

"We've been expanding our footprint in our other markets," Murphy said, "but Austin will be a much bigger undertaking."

The company's newest offerings include Internet service with speeds up to 110 megabits per second, the fastest available in Central Texas, according to Murphy. The company has also partnered with TiVo to roll out a digital video recorder, or DVR, service that can be programmed to record TV shows for later viewing, among other features.

Grande offers the NFL Network, which isn't available on Time Warner Cable, the area's dominant cable provider, Murphy said. And it's the only option for University of Texas fans in Central Texas hungry for the year-old Longhorn Network.

"Having the Longhorn Network has been great for us statewide, but in Austin, especially, we felt it was crucial to have," Murphy said. "It gave us a nice boost last year, but we're expecting even more this year."

The new marketing campaign includes radio, TV, print, online and direct mail ads promoting four packages that bundle Grande's services, Murphy said. Packages featuring Internet, cable and DVR service start at $79.99.

"We needed new direction and new capital," Murphy said. "Now, we feel it's time to start pushing the Grande brand again. It's been a while since we made a lot of noise."

Contact Gary Dinges at 912-5987. Twitter: @gdinges