USConnect increases footprint with six rural telco acquisitions

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USConnnect Holdings, a rural telco cooperative, purchased six additional independent providers, bringing its total to seven local exchange carriers and their affiliates with operations in five states.

The company completed its initial acquisition of The Livingston Telephone Company of Livingston, Texas, on Dec. 31.

Among the newly bought companies are The Rye Telephone Company of Colorado City, Colo.; South Park LLC of Hartsel, Colo.; Dalton Telephone Company Inc. of Dalton, Neb.; Elsie Communications Inc. of Elsie, Neb.; S&A Telephone Company Inc. of Allen, Kan.; and Waverly Hall Telephone LLC of Waverly Hall, Ga. 

It did not reveal the terms of these deals.

Since USConnect was formed in 2013, the company has been on a mission to create what it says is a platform for new growth and service opportunities in the rural ILEC space.

Brad Erwin, CEO of Kingstree, S.C.-based Farmers Telephone Cooperative and chairman of USConnect's Acquisitions and Corporate Development Committee, said the next step for the company is bringing commonality to all of the properties it has purchased over the past year.  

"Over the next several months, the USConnect management team's attention will be focused on integrating the operations of the various USConnect properties, consolidating operational support systems and enhancing the combined company's training, marketing and intercompany communications efforts," Erwin said in a release about the latest acquisitions.  

Consolidation in the rural telco space overall has been ramping in recent years as smaller telcos look to expand their reach or sell their holdings to a larger competitor. Other rural telcos driving further consolidation in the market include Ritter Communications and nSight.

Ritter purchased western Tennessee's Millington Telephone Company and Millington Cable TV in September 2012 while nSight just wrapped its acquisition of Two Rivers, Wis.-based Lakefield Telecom.

For more:
- see the release

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