The city of Opelika will sell OPS ONE to West Point, Ga.-based telecommunications company Point Broadband in a more than $14 million deal.
The city announced a partnership with Point during its regular city council meeting Tuesday night.
Opelika will sell all assets and operations of OPS ONE, including television, phone, internet and video. The city will maintain its electrical smart grid assets and continue to provide power services through Opelika Power Services.
Point Broadband will pay the city of Opelika more than $14 million in cash at closing of the sale. Beginning the 25th month of the partnership, Point will share revenue with the city.
“It was a great day for our community when we brought world-class fiber and infrastructure to the City of Opelika — not unlike what happened when the railroads came through. and the interstate,” said Mayor Gary Fuller.
The council suspended the traditional rules of pushing the majority of the ordinances to the next meeting, and it chose to adopt two ordinances related to the partnership Tuesday night.
The city is awaiting one last approval of an ordinance to establish a Point Broadband franchise. Such a vote requires a public hearing that is scheduled for Nov. 6. If approved, the sale will be final Nov. 8, according to a press release from the city.
What to expect
OPS ONE was built in 2012 and struggled to progress in the last few years. Fuller said without the help of the state and while facing powerful competitors, the city failed for the third time in its attempt to move forward.
OPS ONE had a negative balance of $13.4 million, according to the city’s 2017 audit.
The only change for current OPS ONE customers will be the name of their provider, according to the city. The plans and rates will remain the same, and Point Broadband is looking to add more local programming.
The council approved the purchase of all OPS ONE’s assets, the reduction of force and two engagement letters with law firms Samford and Denson and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.
The council also approved the elimination of 12 positions with the transition. These 12 employees will receive similar job offers with comparable pay with Point Broadband, Opelika city attorney Guy Gunter explained. Those employees will also have the opportunity to apply for other openings with a point of preference in hiring.
The city said in a press release issued Tuesday night that "all OPS ONE employees will transfer to Point Broadband with the same positions and salaries."
The council approved the lease agreement for rent in the Opelika Power Services facilities on Fox Run Parkway, putting the employees in the same area as they were with OPS ONE. The rent is $5,000 each month, Gunter said.
In addition to the partnership with Point Broadband, the council authorized OPS ONE the ability to pay off the telecom warrants to Regions Bank. The funds used to pay off the outstanding warrant with Regions will come from the initial $14 million paid with the sale.
OPS ONE, because of its municipal ownership, has been unable to expand beyond the Opelika jurisdiction. The new partnership will expand beyond the city limits into the surrounding areas, Fuller said. Point Broadband is a subsidiary of ITC Capital Partners, LLC.
“The city limits signs won’t mean a thing,” Fuller said. “There will be some folks in Auburn who will be turning backflips knowing that Point is on the way.”
Fuller said he believes the partnership with Point Broadband will make the City of Opelika shine even brighter.