Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 2010

County commission OKs transfer of cable franchise agreement

September 7, 2010

A Leavenworth County commissioner said there was one thing he didn't want changed with the sale of Sunflower Broadband to Knology of Kansas Inc.

Leavenworth County commissioners on Tuesday approved the transfer of Sunflower Broadband's franchise agreement to Knology of Kansas, newly formed part of the Georgia-based Knology Inc. It was announced last month that The World Company, which also owns The Mirror newspaper of Tonganoxie, Basehor Sentinel and Bonner Springs Chieftain, sold the operation that provided Internet, telephone and cable television service in Douglas, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties to Knology of Kansas.

At a public hearing on the franchise agreement transfer, Patrick Knorr, the World Company's chief operating officer, told commissioners Knology started as a rural phone company in Georgia. The company increased its presence in the Southeast but recently has expanded into the Dakotas and plans more expansion, he said.

The Sunflower purchase was part of that plan, Knorr said.

Sunflower provides service in Basehor, Linwood, Tonganoxie and to surrounding areas with as few as 20 homes per square mile, which most broadband companies refuse to serve, Knorr said. Knology would like to add more service areas, although there was a point at which the lack of customers made it impractical to expand, he said.

In the near term, Knology would maintain a call center in Lawrence, Knorr said. There may be back-office consolidations with the sale over time, but Knology also was planning to expand its presence in northeast Kansas, he said.

Commissioner John Flower said from his background in telecommunications, he was impressed with Sunflower's customer service.

"My experience with Sunflower has been the epitome of customer service," he said. "I would like to applaud you for that.

"Any degradation of that would not be well received when the franchise agreement is renewed."

Knorr said Sunflower's reputation for customer service was one of the reasons Knology pursued its acquisition.

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