New Cable TV / Internet provider for Benton, Maumelle, Beebe

From Guest Editor Nicholas Stehle:

I recently learned that Missouri based Fidelity Communications acquired 14 cable systems from Cobridge Communications on January 23rd of this year. The deal has not been widely reported.  In fact, the Mayor of Benton (one of 5 affected areas in Arkansas) didn’t seem to realize the transaction had taken place when I spoke with him last week.  That’s because Fidelity has been busy working on their network.

Andy Davis, General Manager of Fidelity Communications, was kind enough to speak with me via telephone.  The family-owned company has big plans for its markets in Arkansas, including Benton’s neglected cable system.

ImageDavis says the company sees these added cable markets as a big opportunity and looks forward to expanding available services in the area.

Just what do Davis and his company have planned?  DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades, additional bandwidth purchases and whole-home DVR service seem to be the beginning.  Fidelity hopes to offer 50 Mbps Internet access sometime this year in my hometown of Benton. Fidelity does not intend to “cherry-pick” only the most profitable areas as many telcos and cable carriers do, according to Davis.  Editor’s note: AT&T provides their Uverse service to only some parts of the city.  I can confirm that my neighborhood is not eligible for Uverse.  Phone calls and emails to AT&T regarding this issue were not returned.

Davis indicated that the company is more focused on fixing service issues and expanding the suite of services than on rebranding – a generally good idea given the inherited state of the cable system.

Fidelity Communications has an A+ rating and is accredited with the Better Business Bureau.  The outgoing cable company had an F- rating.  Needless to say, this is a tremendous improvement.

Affected Arkansas markets include Beebe, Maumelle, Shannon Hills/Benton, Hardy and Pulaski County.

I will update this blog as things progress.

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3 comments

  1. Shelli Poole Russell

    Nicholas, I realize you were personally motivated to get answers on this new company, given the roller coaster of dash hopes that has been the changing of hands several times of an outdated money pit of a cable system in Benton… but kudos for digging and reporting to all those in Benton and other cities who are still underserved or unserved by broadband. Meanwhile, surrounding communities have had broadband 15 years prior. Dare we hope again? I used Horizon Broadband for about 4 years but they closed shop in 2011.

    City of Benton, take note: There are very important reasons that I have now moved to Bryant – much lower cost for utilities and many more options for broadband.

  2. Matt

    As a former customer of Charter (turned Cobridge, now turned Fidelity), I have witnessed, in Maumelle, the degrading (and increasingly-so) state of these “services”. Price hikes, speed discrepancies, poor customer service (or just plain not knowing at all what is going on with their own system).

    As an online gamer, I have noticed service go from bad to worse as far as packet loss, ping, constant disconnects, high latency, and a whole myriad of problems ranging from minor to making my online gaming completely unplayable.

    As a person who streams movies via Netflix, I have noticed dropped quality, dropped connections, packet loss, complete disconnects, and other such problems.

    As a current customer of many years (mostly due to the lack of any real Broadband options outside of Charter/Cobridge/Fidelity), I am growing more tired of these constant problems. How many more years of substandard service must we endure before we get service that “is as advertised”, seeing as we aren’t one of the larger demographics “deserving” of the all-mighty “working internet services” that so many surrounding states and cities seem to enjoy?

    • Sam

      I too, have noticed the absolute horrible, rapid decline in quality internet connection as my service has gone from Charter to Combridge and now Fidelity. Ever since Fidelity has bought out Combridge my connection has been absolute horrible at best during constant speed tests i continue to bet 1.4 mbps download AT BEST and NOT EVEN 1 mbps upload! A guy has even been sent out to my home to look into the issue. Only he couldnt find a reason for this problem and said that ‘ they must be working on the lines’. This is completely unacceptable and im wasting my $50 a month on a crap internet bill that I could cut down to $15 a month if i got DSL and would still get faster speeds. If this continues i WILL be doing this in the very near future.

      Get it together Fidelity. Your horrible and your loosing customers because of it.

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