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Block Communications to purchase Mississippi cable provider

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Block Communications Inc. has agreed to purchase a small, family-owned cable provider in northern Mississippi, a move that expands to its holdings in the Gulf States region.

Pending regulatory approval, Ripley Video Cable will become part of the Toledo-based media and telecommunications company’s MaxxSouth Broadband subsidiary. Terms of the deal, which was announced this week and is expected to be finalized this year, were not disclosed. 

Locally, Block Communications owns Buckeye Broadband, which provides cable and Internet service in the Toledo area, and is also the parent company of The Blade.

Block Communications established a cable presence in Mississippi in 2014, when it purchased a 45,000-subscriber system from Harron Communications LP. The operation was renamed MaxxSouth Broadband. Keith Wilkowski, vice president of legal and governmental affairs for Block Communications, said Ripley’s service area is adjacent to MaxxSouth’s coverage area. 

“It was a logical acquisition,” Mr. Wilkowski said. “It fit really well given its location. They were going to retire and I think they’re happy to pass it on to another family owned company.”

Mr. Wilkowski said Ripley Video Cable has about 3,000 subscribers across Tippah County in Mississippi. Like MaxxSouth, it offers Internet, cable, and telephone services and has both residential and commercial customers. 

In a statement, Block Communications Chairman Allan Block said: "We are a family-owned company operating in the cable business since 1965, and so we well recognize the hard work Leon and Diane Bailey, owners of Ripley Video Cable, have done over the years to provide excellent, local customer service. The Baileys' unparalleled contribution to the cable TV and broadband industry within Mississippi will live on through our MaxxSouth operation because we share a common vision: To be good corporate citizens by giving back to our communities in ways that enhance their quality of life."

Officials with Block Communications said Ripley Video Cable has done a good job of keeping up with investments in technology, and that no major changes will be forthcoming, though Block will be investing in some network upgrades and offer a wider selection of video channels and business services. 

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com419-724-6134, or on Twitter @TyrelLinkhorn.

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