The director of recently resigned from his position after accepting a similar position in Tacoma, WA, San Bruno Patch has learned.
Tenzin Gyaltsen ran the city's municipal cable company since 2004. In October, he accepted a job as general manager of Click! Cable TV, the telecommunications arm of Tacoma Power, which is that city's municipal power company. In his new position, Gyaltsen now manages an operation with 24,000 cable customers, 17,000 Internet customers and 18,500 smart meters deployed throughout a city of of more than 198,000 people.
San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson said the city doesn't have any immediate plans to replace him but that Steve Firpo, San Bruno Cable's business manager, and Al Johnson, the system engineer, would share the responsibilities in leading San Bruno Cable in the meantime.
They "are very capable of sharing the director responsibilities for now," Jackson said.
Under Gyaltsen's leadership, San Bruno Cable has increased its revenue by more than 50 percent from $6.9 million in the 2004 fiscal year to $10.5 million in the 2010 fiscal year, according to the city's last budget report.
San Bruno Cable, which has 12,500 cable and Internet customers, is expected to generate $11 million this year by continuing to add new cable and Internet customers and expanding its services to commercial customers in the Bayhill Office Park, the Veterans Administration building and the Airport Trade Center on Sneath Lane.
However, the cable company has experienced some recent challenges. Once the only game in town, San Bruno Cable now faces competition from AT&T, which has gained quite a few customers since launching its U-Verse network, as well as from satellite TV companies.
That competition was part of the reason San Bruno Cable lost 693 customers last year. Other reasons included the dip in the economy and customer backlash to prices, according to the city.
Several council members also for a promotional campaign launched between August and December 2010 that produced lackluster results and angered some customers.
But Johnson said he expects San Bruno Cable to continue to grow as its Internet and commercial subscribers increase. Some customers are even returning after trying out AT&T and satellite TV, Johnson said, because, while those companies offered better deals, their prices still went up.
"Even though San Bruno Cable has lost some video customers, our Internet services are going strong and our commercial business is just beginning to go strong, which is right where we want to be," he said.