AP NEWS

Comcast acquires Wilco Electronic Systems’ cable assets

January 6, 2018 GMT

Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc. has sold its cable division to Comcast Corporation.

The African-American owned technology company is a provider of paid television and other services to many residents of the Philadelphia Housing Authority.

As a result of the transaction, Comcast will make significant upgrades to Wilco’s infrastructure at PHA sites and provide residents with access to the full suite of Xfinity products and services, including X1, Xfinity Internet with xFi, Xfinity Voice, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Mobile and Internet Essentials, Comcast’s affordable internet service for low-income families. The infrastructure upgrades will enable many PHA residents to receive broadband Internet for the first time.

“We are happy to reach an agreement with Comcast that will now offer PHA residents the ability to be able to reap the benefits of its Internet Essentials program as well as many other advanced technologies,” Wilco Founder and President Will Daniel said a news release.

“The opportunity for PHA communities to obtain these services through Comcast, which was founded by my personal friend Ralph Roberts, is an important step in bridging the digital divide here in Philadelphia.”

Since the 1970s, Wilco has offered television services to approximately 9,000 PHA housing residents. Daniel will transition to chairman of the Board of Wilco, which will continue to operate under current leadership and provide telecom services that include residential and commercial security and surveillance solutions. Wilco Executive Vice President Brigitte Daniel, and Chief Financial Officer Perry Daniel, will also serve as consultants to Comcast to ensure a smooth transition for Wilco’s cable subscribers.

Brigitte Daniel said the Comcast deal allows Wilco to focus on growing other aspects of the business.

“It will always be centered around technology and providing access to technology to communities that are in need or underrepresented and that has been a point of legacy for the last 40 years,” she said in an interview with The Tribune.

“We’ve always been very proud that we were a minority and African American owned provider in the cable space and this has been a legacy that we have carried for four decades. My father came to Philadelphia and became a pioneer and became a cable provider when there were none who looked like him. There were not a lot of operators who wanted to served population who looked like us, so maintaining the legacy and making sure that there is minority ownership in telecom is still the eminent focus.”

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Comcast is committed to our local communities and our hometown of Philadelphia,” said Comcast Regional Senior Vice President James Samaha.

“While we already proudly serve many PHA residents, this partnership will ensure that Xfinity products and services, including Internet Essentials, are fully available throughout the city. We look forward to continuing the legacy of Will Daniel through a long-standing partnership with the PHA.”

In a separate transaction, PHA approved the transfer of Wilco’s license agreement to Comcast.

“Residents of our conventional development communities will now have many more options, including Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, and the ability to bundle their innovative products through a single provider,” said PHA President and CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah.

“The ability to bring Internet Essentials to PHA residents at our traditional public housing sites will be a tremendous step forward in bridging the digital divide.”