TDS Telecom Requests FCC Approval of ILEC Ownership Transfer

The companies told the FCC that the transaction will serve the public interest.

TDS Telecom Requests FCC Approval of ILEC Ownership Transfer
Photo of RiverStreet CEO Eric Cramer

July 1, 2024 – Internet Service Provider TDS Telecom is requesting Federal Communications Commission approval of the transfer of two Virginia companies to RiverStreet Management Services, a subsidiary of Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation. 

TDS Telecom entered into a stock purchase agreement with RiverStreet to transfer ownership of two incumbent Local Exchange Companies in Virginia on May 31. The ILECs are Amelia Telephone Corporation and New Castle Telephone Company. 

Eight local TDS Telecom Field Service associates will also transfer to RiverStreet as part of the agreement. 

Pursuant to the stock purchase agreement, RiverStreet will purchase all issued and outstanding capital stock of the two ILECs, giving RiverStreet control. 

"FCC approval of the proposed transaction will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity," read the joint statement to the FCC. "The proposed transaction will benefit consumers in Virginia who will continue to have access to high-quality advanced  communications offerings in rural areas, including a fiber to-the-home network, provided by a company controlled and managed by individuals with extensive knowledge of local telephone operations and the communications needs of the communities served."

The companies added that grant of the application will not reduce competition in the market, as it will "not remove an actual or potential competitor from the market, nor will it have an adverse impact on the ability of other providers to enter and/or compete in the market."

Neither will the transaction have a negative impact on the Universal Service Fund, which supports low-income telecommunication services through mandatory contributions from certain providers, said the companies, because both owners are recipients of the funding. 

“Building upon our successful history of integrating acquired companies into our network, we are eager to welcome Amelia and New Castle into the RiverStreet family," said RiverStreet Networks CEO Eric Cramer, adding that the combination will allow expanded service into 16 counties.

In May, RiverStreet Communications sought approval to transfer thousands of federally supported broadband locations won at auction to Empower Broadband. The company won the locations in the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction in 2018.

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