BRISTOL, Va. - Sunset Digital Communications has completed its $50 million acquisition of BVU's OptiNet division.
The final wire transfer of funds was completed at 6:35 p.m., and the publicly funded fiber-optic cable TV, Internet and phone network is now owned and will be operated by the private Duffiield, Virginia-based firm and ITC Capital Partners of Georgia.
“We are excited. We couldn’t have done it if it wasn’t the best thing for Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee,” Sunset co-founder and CEO Paul Elswick said. “We need broadband to run a new economy on, people need it for education, for medical services, for small business. We just think it’s critical and – for some reason – we were at the right spot at the right time to try to put it together.”
Elswick said he appreciates all the related local, state and federal agencies that have "patiently" supported the transfer for 2.5 years.
Sunset will operate from the BVU offices on Lee Highway, has acquired all of the equipment BVU used to run the system and has hired all of the OptiNet employees.
A Sunset customer service area will operate just inside the front door of the main office building.
Plans call for adding more than 30,000 customers within the next five years.