CalNeva Broadband, based in Fresno, says it is purchasing Rapid Cable, once Mountain CableVision, and will repair the system.
By Gary Meyer
Rapid Communications has agreed to sell its Frazier Park system to a small, Fresno-based company for an undisclosed sum.
According to Tom Gelardi of CalNeva Broadband, LLC, who spoke with The Mountain Enterprise on December 8, the agreement names him as manager until the purchase is finalized, at which point CalNeva becomes the owner.
Gelardi speaks plainly and is upbeat about the prospects for repairing the system which Rapid Cable has been unable to wrangle into consistent service amidst problems with signal strength to outlying areas. Vandals have allegedly eluded capture by law enforcement and detection by private investigators.
“Rapid Cable has been financially strapped and unable to make the needed improvements. We’ve got the money to do what’s necessary,” Gelardi said. “Rapid,” he said, “is being broken up, is selling off its systems and will probably cease to exist in 2009.”
Numerous Rapid Cable customers have called The Mountain Enterprise about their problems, including the company’s policy of billing in advance for service they often did not receive because of service interruptions. When asked whether he will continue Rapid’s policy of charging customers full rates for poor or partial service, Gelardi replied, “I’m not able to address a situation I don’t know a lot about until I get my hands on the system and determine the extent of the problems.”
Asked about his long-term plans for the system, he said, “I’m planing to fix it and keep it. My former company, Central Valley Cable TV, still exists. I purchased that system, improved it and built it up over time to the point where ComCast bought it in 2004.”
In addition to the Frazier Park system, Gelardi says his purchase from Rapid Communications includes their Lake Almanor system in northern California and their Winnemucca system in Nevada, with all three systems totaling about 4,000 subscribers.
“We expect to have a fully staffed call center set up in Lake Almanor by the end of the month,” he said. “The purchase should be finalized by March, but could be as early as January.”
Customers are advised to continue calling (866) 644-7419 for customer service until the new call center is operational. The Mountain Enterprise will be reporting as soon as further information is available about the new call center.
This is part of the December 12, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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