Cable company expands holdings

Published 11:14 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

The recent purchase of Knology cable holdings in Troy and Ozark helps Troy Cablevision nearly double the size of its customer base and can help the area create a technological edge, company officials said.

The purchase of the Ozark and Troy Knology holdings was confirmed earlier this month, when Troy Cablevision sent a letter to its new customers informing them of the change. The letter referenced the challenges in smaller markets created by competing video, data and voice providers. Knology had purchased the assets from Cobridge Communications, which purchased the Charter Communications operations in Troy and Ozark more than two years ago.

“This is a good example, I think, of what a small, hometown communications company can do by finding a niche in the marketplace and providing quality service,” said Jimmy Copeland, special projects director for Troy Cablevision. “The combination of Troy Cablevision, the Smartband grant and this merger will bring our geographical area a competitive edge in a technologically-driven world today.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Copeland said the expansion completed earlier this month fits into a larger plan that was crafted nearly 10 years ago.

“When we started our expansion into Coffee County years ago, into Elba and into Ozark at the request of the city fathers, those locations fit geographically into the overall plan for our company,” he said. “We know we can serve an area within about a 40 miles radius of Troy.”

Last year, the company received a $26 million federal grant, which required a 20 percent company match, that is designed to drive broadband access deeper into the rural parts of Pike, Crenshaw, Dale and Coffee counties. “The grant drives fiber access to critical institutions, such as volunteer fire departments and community centers, but it does not allow service to residential areas,” Copeland said.

By purchasing the Knology assets, Troy Cablevision increases its customer base and its opportunity to expand broadband access to these rural residential areas.

For now, former Cobridge (or Charter) customers will notice no changes to their services, Copeland said.

“We’re going to operate the two systems simultaneously … It will take a while for us to move these areas under the Troy Cablevision umbrella. We want to make sure the equipment and the service are in place to support them at the levels we expect,” he said.

However, the former Charter Communications offices have been closed in Troy and Ozark, and customers are being asked to direct correspondence and payments to the Troy Cablevision offices.

“As we begin to migrate these (new customers) we will be offering additional services on the video side of the house and certainly voice and security system services, as the equipment is put in place to support them,” Copeland said.

And while some customers might be concerned about an apparent lack of competition with the merger, Copeland said they would be mistaken. “We’ve just gone from four competitors in this area to three,” he said, referencing the growth of satellite providers.