For customers, the transition from Fidelity Communications to Sparklight, formerly CableONE, will be transparent, at least for the time being, a company spokesman said.
CableONE announced April 1 it had agreed to purchase Fidelity from the Davis family for $525 million, with the deal expected to close in the fourth quarter. According to Fidelity’s website, the sale was completed in October.
Cable One Inc., a leading broadband communications provider serving more than 900,000 residential and business customers in 21 states, began rebranding as Sparklight over the summer.
Customers won’t be affected by the sale, officials said. “We have no plans to make any changes to Fidelity packaging or pricing for the foreseeable future, and Fidelity local retail offices and customer care centers will remain available to support our customers,” said Trish Niemann, Sparklight Public Relations Manager.
Fidelity will also keep its current identity. Niemann said the Fidelity name, marketing and advertising will all remain the same.
Fidelity has been the primary cable TV and internet provider in Salem since 2007, when the company purchased the system from Cebridge Connections. Fidelity also offers residential and business landline phone service.
The two companies have a similar approach to customer service, Niemann said. “Fidelity and Sparklight share a common commitment to delivery of industry-leading technology and local, personal customer service, so customers can expect Sparklight to bring even more advanced services to residents and businesses in the communities we serve.”
In the future, if there are plans to make any changes that may impact Fidelity customers, she said Sparklight will notify customers well in advance via various communications, such as in customer statements, retail offices and online.
As a family-owned cable operator based in Sullivan, Fidelity was currently providing data, voice and video service to about 114,000 residential and 20,000 business customers in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas at the time of the sale. More than half of Fidelity’s revenues were derived from residential high-speed data and business services.
The Davis family originally purchased the Fidelity Telephone Co. in Sullivan in 1940, providing phone service to parts of Franklin and eventually Gasconade counties. It became Fidelity Communications around 1988 under the direction of the late John T. Davis.
Prior to being acquired by CableONE, Fidelity made five acquisitions over the last 20 years including three that grew its subscriber base exponentially. In early 2012, Fidelity acquired 14 data, video and voice systems in four states from CoBridge Communications, more than doubling in size.
Fidelity Communications began growing in 1992 when it purchased the Rolla cable system. It launched its Sullivan cable system in 1999 and acquired systems in Lebanon in 2006, Salem in 2007 and Lawton, Oklahoma in 2008.
It also launched Fidelity Local 6, a broadcast operation that televised local sports and events in several communities, including Salem and Rolla. Local 6 was not part of the sale and was shut down by Fidelity May 31.