Big River Telephone has acquired a Jackson Internet service provider that has customers in five counties.
Officials at the Cape Girardeau-based company say the purchase of ShowMe.net allows the company to provide additional services such as bundle packages to the new customer service base of under 5,000 in Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry, Scott and Ste. Genevieve counties.
"This is a strategic acquisition," said Kevin Cantwell, president of Big River Telephone. "This is an additional customer base out there that we can now market to that fits in nicely with the philosophy of our company."
The move should be complete by Friday. Big River Telephone will handle billing duties and will fulfill contractual agreements with ShowMe.net customers, Cantwell said.
In addition to adding to its customer base of 63,000, Cantwell said, the acquisition could provide an upgrade from dial-up to high-speed Internet for ShowMe.net customers if Big River Telephone receives federal stimulus money. Earlier this year Big River Telephone applied for some of the $7.2 billion in available stimulus funds for broadband expansion into rural areas. The government announced in December it was awarding $183 million in funding to 18 projects.
If approved, the company would provide high-speed Internet access in a eight-county region. The company could potentially double the size of its staff, add new cell phone towers and open retail locations that would offer cell phone service.
Cantwell said he may learn whether Big River Telephone has been approved for funding by the end of February.
"If we land the stimulus money, that will be a good thing for our rural customers, including those from ShowMe.net," Cantwell said. "We're shovel-ready for this, but for now we, along with others in Missouri who have applied for the grants, are in a holding pattern to see who will be blessed."
24 S. Minnesota Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO