Big River Communications Sold to Illinois Company

By: Jeff Long, Business Editor Southeast Missourian
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Peoria, Illinois-based i3 Broadband is acquiring Cape Girardeau-based Big River Communications, according to a Tuesday, Feb. 7, news release.

Included in the purchase is Big River’s wholly owned broadband subsidiary, Circle Fiber — which has been building out its network in Cape Girardeau, Jackson and Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Big River president Kevin Cantwell said he will remain with i3 as executive vice president.

Big River Communications president Kevin Cantwell explains the monitors the company uses to keep track of network activity across the nation during a tour of the Big River control room July 29, 2021, in Cape Girardeau. Southeast Missourian File.

“We look forward to working with an amazing organization that mirrors our commitment to our employees, customers and community. (i3’s) purchase will help accelerate our deployment to communities in southeast Missouri that understand the importance of a 100% symmetrical fiber network,” said Cantwell in a text message to the Southeast Missourian.

“Since our launch in the St. Louis market, we have been looking for a trusted partner to accelerate the growth of our footprint in Missouri. Big River Broadband/Circle Fiber is providing state-of-the-art products and services in southeast Missouri, making it a perfect fit,” i3 Broadband CEO Paul Cronin said.

“Joining forces with i3 Broadband allows us to accelerate the expansion of the Circle Fiber network into more communities,” said Jerry Howe, Big River Broadband/Circle Fiber CEO.

“We found i3 Broadband to have the same outlook and approach to bringing the latest communications services to customers, leveraging the exceptional capacity of fiber networks. We are excited about the new capabilities our merged companies will provide, tapping into a pent-up demand for our services.”

Big River Broadband/Circle Fiber currently serves customers in Cape Girardeau, Perry, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Butler, Washington, Bollinger and Scott counties.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023. According to the news release, i3 and Big River Broadband/Circle Fiber “will work towards a full integration under the i3 Broadband brand in the months to come.” Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.