– Accelerates BRI mission to bring gigabit Internet via fiber to Charlottesville, Virginia –
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, December 16, 2014 – Ting Fiber, Inc. (TFI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ: TCX; TSX: TC), announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 70% ownership of an independent Internet service provider in Charlottesville, Virginia doing business primarily as Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI).
BRI provides high speed Internet access, Internet hosting and network consulting services to over 3,000 customers in Central Virginia.
Ting disrupted the mobile industry with its launch in 2012, offering shockingly fair pricing, usable interfaces and no-hold, no-transfer live customer support. This acquisition signals an ambition to bring the same sort of sanity and innovation to the cable industry.
“The expansion from mobile to fixed access is almost obvious for us,” explained Tucows CEO Elliot Noss. “The only customers in the world more starved for great service and fair pricing than mobile phone customers are cable customers. They deserve that.”
“But we have an opportunity with BRI in Charlottesville to offer even more than great service at a low price. The step up to gigabit, or ultra high-speed, access is profound,” continued Mr. Noss. “It can change the way people use and enjoy the Internet. It can help attract and grow businesses and transform a community.”
“There is a wonderful movement going on. Towns are excited about the potential of fiber and they are lobbying for it. So far, these build-outs have mostly been ‘side projects’ for industry giants. I think we can prove there is enough demand and profit to make it work absolutely anywhere and to attract and sustain smaller, more customer-focused providers like us. It’s an exciting experiment.”
Jeff Cornejo, co-founder of BRI, echoed this enthusiasm. “For almost fifteen years, we have provided a wonderful, service-driven alternative to big guys like Comcast and CenturyLink. But to do what we want to do, to give Charlottesville the fastest, best Internet access in the country, we needed some more muscle. Ting gives us the capital and the technical capabilities we need without compromising our focus on customer relationships.”
Mr. Noss concluded, “For shareholders, this is a rare opportunity. In one deal, we get customers, revenue, prospects, infrastructure and a wealth of fiber expertise. We get an inside track on a game changing technology.”
TFI will acquire 70% of the newly formed Ting Virginia LLC and its acquired subsidiaries, Blue Ridge Websoft LLC (doing business as Blue Ridge InternetWorks), Fiber Roads, LLC and Navigator Network Services, LLC (the BRI Group). The remaining 30% interest in Ting Virginia LLC, which is subject to certain Call and Put Options, will be retained by the current owners of the BRI Group. The founders of the BRI Group will remain with the company. The price and terms of the acquisition were not announced. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.
Visit https://ting.com/internet to learn more about Ting and the benefits of fiber, to sign up for updates or to talk to us about bringing gigabit Internet to your town.
Tucows management will host a conference call today, December 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm (ET) to discuss this announcement. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-888-231-8191 or 647- 427-7450 or via the Internet at http://www.fengping.net.cn/investors.
For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, it will be archived for replay both by telephone and via the Internet beginning approximately one hour following completion of the call. To access the archived conference call by telephone, dial 1-855-859-2056 or 416-849-0833 and enter the pass code 54400285 followed by the pound key. The telephone replay will be available until Tuesday, December 23, 2014 at midnight ET. To access the archived conference call as an MP3 via the Internet, go to http://www.fengping.net.cn/investors.
About Blue Ridge InternetWorks
Blue Ridge InternetWorks’ headquarters and data center are located in Charlottesville, VA. Founded in 2000, BRI offers hosting, IT services and high-speed Internet access for 3,000 customers. BRI has a staff of 25 employees. This team plans, designs, implements and maintains high-speed data networks.
Ting offers mobile that makes sense. Ting has no contracts, no overage penalties and no hidden fees. Minutes, megabytes and messages are each billed separately and customers only pay for the usage levels they actually hit. Businesses and families can have unlimited devices on one account and share usage for even greater savings. Active devices on an account cost just $6 per month. Ting offers a clear, usable website and smart, accessible people that are empowered to solve problems.
Starting today, Ting will start making fixed Internet make sense too.
Tucows is a provider of network access, domain name and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) is a mobile phone service provider dedicated to bringing clarity and control to US mobile phone users. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) manages over 13 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 13,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) is the easiest way for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).
This release includes forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements regarding and the acquisition, its timing and impact. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements, including the parties’ ability to obtain regulatory approvals and satisfy closing conditions and integration of the BRI Group into our Company. Information about other potential factors that could affect Tucows’ business, results of operations and financial condition is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to Tucows as of the date they are made. Tucows assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as may be required by law.
416-815-0700 ext. 257