General Communication Inc. has closed a transaction with the Canadian firm of Rogers Cable Inc. to acquire 100 percent of the stock of Rogers American Cablesystems, an Alaska cable television producer. The acquisition was effective Nov. 19.
"We believe this transaction will allow us to offer a broader package of advanced services to our customers in the Mat-Su Valley," said Riley Snell, GCI vice president and general manager of cable and entertainment. "We have already made significant progress in tying the networks together and have made plans to invest more than $3 million over the next two years to upgrade the plant and significantly increase the products available to our customers.
According to Snell, the Palmer and Wasilla area is the state's fastest growing region. Rogers American Cablesystems provided service to approximately 7,300 subscribers and passes more than 10,000 homes. "Passes" is cable jargon for "wired to or can be easily wired to" the system. As a result of the transaction, GCI will have about 130,000 basic subscribers and pass 191,000 homes, or about 90 percent of the state's households.
The final purchase price of the transaction was $19 million. The final closing required approval from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, which was granted Nov. 9.
Changes that appeared in Southeast Alaska after GCI bought cable systems here in 1996 - cable modems, for example - will now be appearing in the Matanuska and Susitna Valleys, GCI spokesman David Morris said.