Lawrence’s largest cable television provider now officially has a new owner.
Officials with WOW Internet, Cable & Phone announced Tuesday that it had completed its $1.5 billion systemwide acquisition of Knology Inc., including its cable, Internet and telephone operations in Lawrence.
Area customers of Knology are not expected to see any immediate changes in offerings now that Knology is owned by Englewood, Colo.-based WOW, said Rod Kutemeier, who remains as general manager for the company’s Lawrence operations. Kutemeier said there are no immediate changes planned for the lineup of cable channels or changes to rates. He also said there are no plans to require area customers who have e-mail accounts with Knology to migrate over to the WOW domain name. Many Knology customers still have an email domain of @sunflower.com, which is left over from when Knology purchased Sunflower Broadband from The World Company in October 2010. The World Company is the parent company of the Lawrence Journal-World.
“As far as today goes, this is just the beginning of the merging of two companies,” Kutemeier said. “But we’re excited about what comes next. WOW has a great reputation.”
WOW, also known as WideOpenWest, was ranked earlier this year by Consumer Reports magazine as the top provider of both cable television and Internet services. It ranked second in the magazine’s phone services category.
WOW announced in April that it had reached a preliminary deal to buy Knology, which had about 800,000 customers in primarily the southeast and Midwest. WOW, which is a privately held company, says with the merger it now serves more than 2.8 million households and is the ninth largest cable operator in the country.
Kutemeier said the merger has not resulted in any lost jobs for the company’s Lawrence operations. He also said WOW has not yet made any changes to Channel 6, which provides local newscasts and local programming in the Lawrence area.
In April, WOW officials said their other cable systems did not have such local programming channels, but that the company would evaluate the local operations after the deal was completed.
“There is no doubt that WOW understands the value of Channel 6 to this community,” Kutemeier said. “All those discussions about the future can really start now.”
Kutemeier also said he did not expect an immediate re-branding from the Knology name to the WOW name.
“There is no plan to change the name anytime soon,” Kutemeier said. “There will be a lot that goes into that decision.”