Knology cable television and Internet customers will eventually see a wider variety of channels and email improvements when WideOpenWest — or WOW — finalizes its $1.5 billion purchase of the Georgia-based company this month.
WOW, based in Colorado, expects to complete its deal within the next 30 days, said Mike Adams, general manager of Knology in Huntsville.
Knology officials attended an Athens City Council meeting Wednesday in which the council approved three resolutions involving the company and its franchise with the city.
Council member voted 4-0, with one member absent, to do the following:
• Transfer control from Knology Inc. to WOW;
• Approve the extension of the compliance project agreement between Athens and Knology. This agreement requires WOW to work with Athens Utilities in correcting any problems with cable lines, poles or other equipment;
• Amend the city ordinance relating to a non-exclusive franchise to Knology.
Royce Ard, vice president of sales and marketing for Knology, said the sale to WOW would improve service for customers without raising rates.
“Customers will still get a Knology bill and they will still call the same number for service, but in the future, they will see a new email platform as well as better programming and equipment.
“WOW will have more leverage with programming because it is a much larger company,” Ard said.
He said WOW customer also have access to “ultra TV,” which allows customers to record shows in any room to watch on any TV in their home and to record up to six high-definition shows at once while managing all recordings either through their TV or
online. The company also offers a smart menu that allows TV viewers to enter one keyword to find a program or channel.
Council members were mainly concerned about maintaining the same rates and customer service.
Mike Adams, general manager of Knology in Huntsville, told council members the transition to WOW “will not affect rates.”
As for customer service, he expects that to improve, noting that WOW had a better customer-service ranking than Knology.
J.D. Power ranked WOW as No. 1 in customer satisfaction in the north-central region of the U.S. Wow was only one of 40 companies to receive the distinction.
Adams said customers will begin seeing WOW or Knology subcontractors in their neighborhoods upgrading cables and other equipment. He said subcontractors’ trucks will be identified as subcontractors for Knology or WOW and will hang door tags explaining their impending work in any given neighborhood. He said residents should report any workers who cannot identify themselves as subcontractors for either Knology or WOW.
He warned customers that service could be interrupted from time to time while workers are upgrading equipment, but he noted that customers would be notified in advance.
A Knology official said the WOW purchase would allow the company to “build out more service area,” which means it could add more customers. A larger customer base gives the company more leverage when negotiating programming fees with cable television networks such as HBO and ESPN.
WOW announced June 6 it had agreed to pay $750.5 million for Knology, with Knology’s debt included, in a deal valued at about $1.5 billion.
Publicly traded Knology, which will become a private company after the deal, has about 800,000 customers in Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Tennessee. WOW is a privately held company, and does not release subscriber totals. But published reports indicated the company had about 1.4 million subscribers in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
Knology purchased PCL Cable in Athens in late 2009.
For more information on WOW service, go online to http://www.wowway.com.