Derek Spellman 10/3/07 flair at bottom
By Derek Spellman
Empire District Electric Co. in Joplin has sold its Internet service subsidiary to a Granby company, officials said Wednesday.
Empire had purchased Fast Freedom Inc., a provider of wireless broadband, DSL and dial-up Internet service, several years ago. Empire now has sold Fast Freedom to Stouffer Communications Inc., which has been providing dial-up Internet and high-speed DSL service to Granby, Diamond and bordering rural communities since 1995.
“It should be completely seamless for the customers,” said Jon Stouffer, president of Stouffer Communications, of the transition.
Amy Bass, a spokeswoman for Empire, said Fast Freedom had 5,000 customers. She declined to disclose the sale price of Fast Freedom, citing company policy.
Bill Gipson, president of Empire, said the utility bought the Internet business at a time when Empire and other utilities were studying the broadband-over-power-line concept, which allows a customer to receive Internet service through a power outlet.
“One of the things we wanted to understand was the customer side of that technology,” Gipson said. “Now, a few years later, we find ourselves in a place where there are plenty of other places to invest our money. The Internet business has taken a back seat to our mission. It is no longer core to our business.”
Stouffer said Empire approached him about selling Fast Freedom several months ago.
He said his company has been trying to carve out a niche as a provider of high-speed Internet in areas that currently lack that service, especially rural areas.
Stouffer Communications acquired The Net Advantage, a Joplin-based Internet provider, several months ago. Net Advantage and Fast Freedom provide high-speed Internet, Web development and hosting, and other technology support services in Southwest Missouri.
“It is the first time we have expanded on this scale,” Stouffer said of the two acquisitions.
The addition of Net Advantage and Fast Freedom means Stouffer Communications will have customers not only in Granby and Diamond, but also in parts of Neosho and Joplin.
Globe Editor Carol Stark and Metro Editor Andy Ostmeyer contributed to this report.
“The sale (of Fast Freedom) is not expected to have a material effect on Empire’s earnings, cash flows, or results of operations in the third quarter.”
Source: Empire District Electric Co.
Derek Spellman 10/3/07 flair at bottom
US stocks edge lower in afternoon trading
Stocks eased back into the red Tuesday afternoon after briefly wandering higher earlier in the day as investors focused on companies such as General Motors, Men’s Wearhouse and American Eagle Outfitters in the absence of major economic news.
How investors may be getting fooled by buybacks
If you’re puzzled why the U.S. stock market has risen so fast in a slow-growing economy, consider one of its star performers: DirecTV.
Steady health care sign-ups may miss goal
The Obama administration said Tuesday it’s making steady progress on health care sign-ups, but the White House needs something close to a miracle to meet its goal of enrolling 6 million people by the end of this month.
Natural gas industry struggles to keep promises
America’s plan to use more natural gas to run power plants, make chemicals, drive vehicles and heat homes may not go as smoothly as expected.
McDonald’s struggles worsened by snow
McDonald’s is fighting to hold onto customers in the U.S. — and all that snow didn’t help.
Search widens for missing Malaysian passenger jet
Authorities hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner expanded their search on land and sea Tuesday, reflecting the difficulties in locating traces of the plane more than three days after it vanished.
US stocks waver in early trading
U.S. stocks were little changed in early trading Tuesday, following slight gains in markets from Asia to Europe.
Wal-Mart seeks to intervene in electric rate case
Wal-Mart is seeking to intervene in a dispute about electric rates between Ameren Missouri and its largest electric customer.
Black Twitter growing into online force
The hashtag gave it away.
Stocks open lower on discouraging news from Asia
The U.S. stock market edged lower in morning trading Monday as investors weighed disappointing economic news from China and Japan.
- More Business Headlines
- US stocks edge lower in afternoon trading