Market Insight

Rural operator TruVista expands cable footprint in the Southeast


TruVista Communications, currently serving 9,000 basic in South Carolina, has expanded its operations to Georgia with the acquisition of cable systems in Toccoa and Clayton, GA from Northland Communications. The newly-acquired systems will boost TruVista Communication's basic subscribers by 5,000.

An independent telephone company, TruVista Communications has been active in acquiring cable systems in South Carolina in the past decade. In 2002, it began offering video services when it acquired cable systems serving 2,000 basic subs in Winnsboro and Ridgeway from Comporium Communications. Further acquisitions from the same company followed in 2006 and 2007. IHS Screen Digest estimates TruVista Communication's cable operations in South Carolina currently serve 9,000 basic, 4,500 digital, 4,200 cable modem, and 1,700 VoIP subs.

IHS Screen Digest estimates that TruVista paid average market price for Northlands's rural systems of approximately $2,000 per basic subscriber. The attractive price coupled with the systems being the only cable service operating in Toccoa and Clayton, Goergia may have been a deciding factor for TruVista.

Small operators like TruVista face an uphill battle in bringing back video subscribers lost to satellite services and over-the-top video. To face these challenges, they have the option of employing the same strategy as larger operators, acquiring cable systems to offset subscriber loss. Another option, which is advantageous to telcos like Truvista, is to roll out fiber to the home (FTTH) across their smaller footprints. Last year TruVista has completed the build out of FTTH in the Winnsboro system which allows for increased internet speeds in the rural area and will allow TruVista to choose whether or not to use IPTV to deliver their video services, currently they do not. With the inclusion of IPTV and higher broadband speeds across their footprint, rural operators will be in a better position to keep afloat in a pay TV industry where subscriber growth is a thing of the past.