Customers in the Salem and Viola area received notice July 22 by way of social media their internet and cable provider Salem Cable Vision would be closing effective July 31.  

The news came as a shock to many and in the social media post, Merlina McCullough told customers the company apologized for the short notice. 

“We are very story for the short notice, but HD had been trying to find a way where folks won’t have any disruptions of service, but nobody is interested in purchasing it. We did try for nine months and staying for another month, (August) will cost us thousands of dollars, thus the end date at the end of July,” McCullough said.  

The company went on to state one of the owners was not in good health and was working to recover from Covid, two strokes and other health issues.  

“He can no longer maintain this system so as a family, we have decided to call it quits. HD and I want to spend our retirement days with the family instead of worrying about the system,” McCullough said. “We thank you all for your patronage and for staying with us. Some of you were with us when we built this system 30 plus years ago and have stayed with us. Thank you!” 

Refunds for customers who paid for the month of August will receive a refund of their payment.  

In the meantime, many residents are scrambling to find a new provider and are looking to North Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s NEXT service. 

Although NAEC said it will be happy to accommodate customers to the best of their ability, many are anxious about the potential wait times. 

According to Communications Director, Tori Moss there is a waiting list, but the company is working as quickly as they can to provide services. 

“NEXT, Powered by NAEC is in the midst of a five-year plan to build our fiber-optic network to all of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s approximately 30,000 members. The co-op founded NEXT because we know high-speed internet access brings economic and educational benefits to our communities. Particularly during the pandemic, NEXT’s reliable high-speed internet has allowed co-op members and their children to work and learn from home,” Moss said. 

With an average of 150 new subscribers per week, Moss said there are many families waiting for the new internet service to reach their homes and businesses. 

“We have many co-op members who are waiting for our internet, phone and television services. Our employees and contractors are working as quickly as possible, but that strong demand has led to wait times of up to 12 weeks for new subscribers in some areas,” Moss said. “NEXT’s high-speed internet, phone and television services are a great option for customers previously served by Salem Cable Vision. They are encouraged to review our plans and subscribe by visiting or calling 870-895-3221 during regular business hours. We will do our best to connect them as quickly as possible, but we must be respectful of co-op members who previously submitted their application for NEXT service.”

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Lauren is a an award-winning journalist who decided after 10 years of newspaper experience to venture out. Hallmark Times was born.