Local, family-owned communications company began building its cable network in 1982
June 14, 2012 --- Warren, R.I.
As Bristol prepares to celebrate the birth of our nation for the 227th time, just up the road in Warren, Full Channel is popping the champagne on its 30th year in business. The local, family-owned TV, Internet and phone company began stringing cables in 1982. To-date, it remains the only independent provider in Rhode Island.
“My father was a real visionary,” said Linda Jane Maaia, president and CEO of Full Channel. “He started out repairing television sets as a hobby; he then became interested in what he thought would be the future of television.”
In 1965, a time when most Americans were watching the nascent stages of the U.S. space program on one of three TV stations, company founder John Donofrio was dreaming about beaming satellite television signals around the world and into our living rooms.
Donofrio founded Full-Channel TV, Inc. (now Full Channel, Inc.) that year and spent the next two decades lobbying for one of the highly coveted cable television franchises in New England. By 1982, the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers had awarded Donofrio’s company the right to build a system in Bristol County. His was the only family-owned company among the group of regional and national organizations vying for franchises.
Full Channel would go on to become a trailblazer in the industry and an early adopter of new technologies. In mid-1982, Full Channel was among the very few cable providers to choose addressable set-top boxes in order to offer premium services with the press of a button. In 2003, the company was the first in the state to offer second generation speed cable modem services.
After bucking a takeover by Cox Communications in 2002, Donofrio remained at the helm until his death in 2004, at which time his daughter Linda Jane Maaia, a former educator and CPA, and his grandson Levi C. Maaia stepped in to lead Full Channel into the new millenium. Since then, the company has continued its focus on local, community-based support airing live town government meetings, supporting local youth sports and the arts.
In 2011, it was Full Channel that stepped in when the regional broadcast network affiliate TV stations decided not to air the Bristol Fourth of July Parade for the first time in recent memory.
“When the parade committee requested our help, we happily offered our technical resources to keep the tradition alive,” explained company vice president, Levi C. Maaia. “We were able not only to get the parade on TV here in town, but also stream it live so viewers around the world could see the nation’s oldest celebration for the first time.”
Today, some 30 years, a fiber optic upgrade and a digital TV transition later, Full Channel remains the dominant broadband provider to the residents of Barrington, Warren and Bristol, with 22 employees working from its headquarters on Everett Street in Warren.
“For me, it’s amazing that my father could have a vision of what the future might be, and then make that happen at a grass-roots level.” concluded Linda.
As Rhode Island’s only local, family-owned broadband provider, Full Channel is known for a strong community focus and affordable prices. The company is a full-service communications provider to Rhode Island’s East Bay, delivering TV, Internet and digital phone services to the communities of Barrington, Warren and Bristol.