50 Best Companies to Watch 2023

Serving MDU communities nationally: Pavlov Media leads the single- and multi-family industry toward fiber Internet solutions


"We continue to focus on our legacy business of MDU student housing services and are accelerating our build-out of fiber-to-the-home as well as build-out of fiber-to-the-business in dozens of communities.”

Pavlov Media, founded in 1994 and headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, is one of the nation's largest private providers of broadband services (video, data, and voice) to multi-family real estate owners. Pavlov Media is the largest private provider of broadband services to off-campus student housing, serving over 714 properties across 157 different communities in 44 US states. Its strategic partnerships with companies such as AT&T, Cisco Systems, InfiniSys, and D-Link allow Pavlov Media to deliver the best options for Internet, television, and telephone communications.

Mark Scifres, CEO of Pavlov Media, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review about how his company is adding value to properties and businesses by delivering products that enhance customer satisfaction.

Interview Highlights

Q. What circumstances or events led to the creation of Pavlov Media? Please brief us about the history so far.

I began in business at a young age. Internet service was not a household thing yet. I learned from my college experiences that apartment Internet is an entirely different beast than Internet service for homes or even businesses. When you look at the history of the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) space, you have ownership, tenants, and broadband infrastructure that is often limited in nature. Seeing the challenges got me thinking about how to work through ways to bring a great Internet experience to everyone involved.

Q. Setbacks are a part of every growing business. Tell us about a few roadblocks and learning lessons that helped Pavlov Media grow through the years.

We just got past one of the major roadblocks. Telecommunications is a very capital-intensive business. By acquiring a new preferred equity investment partner, we are thrilled to be able to expand our fiber network construction to new markets.

Q. As a leading broadband and television services provider, what are Pavlov Media key focus areas?

We continue to focus on our legacy business of MDU student housing services and are accelerating our build-out of fiber-to-the-home as well as build-out of fiber-to-the-business in dozens of communities.

The company was founded upon principals that networks are tools for people to connect to people, and that people must have faith in their service provider. The service provider must help people and provide solutions that exceed their expectations, and we must make this look easy. This drives our innovation to continuously improve.

Q. Can you introduce us to your services? What are their primary features?

We continue to deploy our own fiber optic networks, which allow us to provide 100 Gigabits of network capability to student housing properties. We offer Gigabit speeds to every home we provide fiber to, and that performance will only increase in the future.

Q. Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how Pavlov Media helped them overcome those challenges?

One of our biggest triumphs was helping a client in Arizona that wanted to use very high-performance networks as an attraction for 2,600 engineering and science students at their property.

Situation: The client wanted to say to potential residents "Sign a lease here and get a network like nothing else you will find”.

Approach: We did 160 Gigabits of Campus Area Network on the property. This network includes many other enhancements and was the most ambitious project ever for us up to that date. We pulled it off, and the property remains leased.

Q. What's the one thing you want Pavlov Media to be known for?

Our slogan is "Simply Exceptional Connections Nationwide," and we live, eat, sleep, and breathe it.

Tell us what’s next for Pavlov Media.

You’ll see us building out fiber-optic networks in many states. We are deploying not just very high speeds on those networks but a variety of other network services that improve our customers' lives.

Q. Is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up?

I have been in the fiber Internet industry since I was in college, and the journey from college to now has been exciting, thrilling and rewarding every step of the way. In spite of that, I think the future is even brighter.

About | Mark Scifres

Mark Scifres is Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pavlov Media.

Mark started at the University of Illinois in 1989 to study engineering and decided to start a company to network the privately owned freshman-certified off-campus dormitories to pay for college and have fun. The first dormitory was connected in 1993. The company provided bulk Ethernet to off-campus apartment complexes. The company has since expanded across the country and builds fiber-optic municipal networks for apartments, businesses, and homes.

Mr. Scifres holds a B.S. in general engineering from the University of Illinois and holds US patents related to the field of networking, network resource allocation, network acceleration, and patents pending related to network equipment hardware design.

Mark is a husband and father of two and loves basketball, forest walks, and entrepreneurship.

"Our slogan is 'Simply Exceptional Connections Nationwide', and we live, eat, sleep, and breathe it.”