Farmers & Merchants Mutual Telephone Company (Famtel) was acquired by Kalona Cooperative Technology Company (KCTC).
KCTC was first established as the Kalona Mutual Switchboard Company in 1905. The service provider started providing gigabit-ready fibre to its whole Washington County region last year.
Rural Telecom M&A: One Iowa Provider Buys Another
The development of this partnership began many years ago as a friendship and idea-sharing. The first letter of intent was then signed by the KCTC Board of Directors in October 2022.
The KCTC board approved the final version in April 2023, and the Farmtel board approved it on May 12, 2023, after numerous revisions and changes. According to KCTC’s website, “the remaining time has been in the hands of the FCC and waiting on their approval.”
It took almost two years to complete the transaction, and employees from Farmtel will join KCTC as staff. The KCTC branding will remain part of the enlarged business.
According to the KCTC website, “For our existing customers, this will offer the potential for upgrades in speeds and pricing, enhanced service quality with a combined staff, and expanded package options. This will also offer many opportunities for potential customers as combining our resources will give many opportunities for growth.”
Regarding the monthly billing, the company stated, “Your billing will look the same for now and over the coming months, the branding on the bills and the look will change. Our staff will do our best to keep all of our customers informed of the changes and when and what to expect. No pricing changes will occur without customer contact.”
According to KCTC, some customers can switch to new plans in the future, but existing packages won’t be changed.
The website stated, “Existing plans and pricing will not change without customer contact. Through this acquisition, we will have more resources available in our plans and pricing, which will allow for us to offer some plans the opportunity to be migrated to new plans.”
The KCTC website also highlighted the benefits of this acquisition to the customers. They stated, “The benefits of this acquisition for our customers are huge.
Growth and expansion will offer our customers a multitude of benefits such as improved network performance, expanded coverage, and access to many new services.”
In Iowa, KCTC is not the only broadband provider making progress. Mediacom Communications, for instance, reported last month that it had finished two projects that extended fibre to the remote Iowan communities of Rutland and Williams, which are close to Fort Dodge.
Atlee Yoder, a board member of KCTC, stated in a video statement that “Farmtel is really a good fit for us in terms of both geography [and] in terms of the communities that are being served.”
He added, “The leadership within KCTC provides tremendous service within the broader community because they have a pulse on what is happening within the community because they live in the community.”
Another board member, Jeremy Kuenster, stated that cross-training between the two businesses will be possible.
Kuenster stated, “We hope to do things on a much larger scale with the combination of the two companies, with the beautification of the towns and the ability to extend our fiber out and give customers the services and the quality of service they are going to enjoy,”
He added, “We will have the ability to reach out further with our services into the Mount Pleasant market, perhaps.”
KCTC also explained the purpose of acquisition on their website: “By combining our entities, we really enhance our footprint and the impact we can have on the communities we serve.
Combining our staff and their talents allows for more services to be provided to an even bigger coverage area. This will serve as a benefit to staff, current customers, and future customers!”
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