Broadslate Lays Off 150

Charlottesville’s Broadslate Networks is closing down. According to a post on the Neon Guild mailing list this afternoon (below), they have laid off 150 of their employees, and are keeping a few on to maintain things until they can sell the company. It’s impressive that they burned through $60M in venture capital in just six months. The company owns a tremendous amount of fiber optics, which they’re in the business of leasing the use of. 4:47pm Update: An anonymous poster has pointed out that they do not, in fact, own much in the way of fiber optics, despite misleading press to the contrary. 12/22/01, 1:18pm Update: Today’s Progress reports that not all 150 were laid off, but 120 were; apparently, the few dozen employees remaining are local folks.

To: Neon Guild Mailing List
From: Tracey Linkous
Subject: Broadslate closing its doors
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 14:37:54 -0500

My friend Katie Van Sciver called to let me know that Broadslate closed their doors this morning. From what I was told, they laid off 150 or so people and have only a skeleton crew to maintain their current clients until they can sell the company. Several folks we all know were laid off today including Katie Van Sciver, Paula Gunter, and Chuck Moran. Morgan Allen’s position was phased out a few weeks ago. I’m sure there are many others you will know, but this is who I am aware of currently. I have encouraged Katie and others to network as much as possible perhaps becoming more involved and active in some of the many wonderful networking groups our town hosts including: the Neon Guild (, Charlottesville Company of Friends (, the Charlottesville Young Professionals ( or 817-2394); and the Communication Arts Guild (

Please reach out to as many people as you can in this tough economy and Holiday season to nurture one another.

Your fellow community catalyst,

7 thoughts on “Broadslate Lays Off 150”

  1. Just a little correction- Broadslate owns little to no fiber optic infrastructure. They lease quite a bit to connect their markets but they’ve always been strickly a DSL provider (ie incumbent copper).

  2. I’m not arguing, but just confused. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to head over to the library and pull out the Progress article from back in June (where I got that 1,700 mile fiber ring information from), but there is this newspaper article from the Blue Ridge Business Journal:

    The Broadslate network, which eliminates the middleman reseller of highspeed services, stretches from the Ohio Valley to Pennsylvania and throughout the southeastern United States, and will reach 25 smaller metro markets by the end of 2000, Wheeler says.

    Did they, at one time, own this fabled beefy network? I’m just baffled why they would have said that they owned their own network (“eliminates the middleman reseller of highspeed services”) if they don’t. OTOH, I have no idea of how they possibly could have afforded to construct this network, least of all prior to this $60M infusion of capital.

  3. It article isn’t incorrect it’s just leaving out quite a bit of the details. The “middleman” they’re alluding to is DSL companies like Covad that wholesale DSL service for ISPs. Broadslate provides their own DSL and ISP services as a bundle. The DSL copper infrasture in each market was connected to Broadslate’s leased fiber network which then dropped the traffic onto an Internet backbone (Broadwing I think). So, they didn’t sell fiber services. They just leased fiber to get the DSL customers to the Internet backbone (and eventually other services like voice if things progressed).

  4. My friend Katie Van Sciver called to let me know that Broadslate closed their doors this morning. From what I was told, they laid off 150 or so people and have only a skeleton crew to maintain their current clients until they can sell the company

    Funny, Daily Progress says 120 laid-off, 35-40 local folks and no mention of them “closing its doors”

    “The high-speed Internet access provider eliminated its field sales organization, deciding to rely solely upon independent third parties.

    About 45 local workers remain — the only employees left at the company — and president and co-founder Earle MacKenzie said he expects no more layoffs. Sales operations from Pennsylvania to Florida were shut down, he said.

    “It was really a repositioning of our sales strategy, and we have made an according reduction,” MacKenzie said Friday night. “We’re a startup company in the telecom sector,” he added, explaining the company’s recent troubles. “The telecom sector has had a tough period in the last year.””

    I think before we start weeping over yet another start-up going under, perhaps we should make sure that they are in fact, going under.

  5. I love this site. you can’t have a back-and-forth about the accuracy of news reports just from reading a newspaper, unless you want to wait weeks for a letter to the editor to maybe make it into print.

  6. “Going under” is, after all, a relative term. Being a tech geek, and owner of a tech firm, I follow closings on a day-to-day basis. You’d be amazed at how few of them ever actually admit that they’re going under. They’re always “repositioning,” or “reconsidering their target market,” or “cutting the fat.” This phrasing, despite the fact that the sheriff has sold off their furniture, or they have two employees, or whatever.

    I don’t mean to make light of your point — that to say that a company is going out of business when it’s not is unfair. Hopefully the correction up there about the employees remaining will let people make their own call.

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