Director Government Affairs for Charter Communications Shelley Winchenbach [left] and Melinda Kinney [center] speak to the Wilton select board on Tuesday, March 7, on what Charter will bring to Wilton after it acquires Bee Line Cable. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — Charter Communications will be purchasing Bee Line Cable. The acquisition has been ongoing for several months and is expected to be finalized sometime later this year. 

George Allen, general manager for Bee Line Cable, believes the acquisition should be finalized sometime in the spring.

“It’s a large process,” Allen said in a phone interview. “You’ve got a lot of FCC filings to do and state filings. And then, of course, the local franchise filings, things like that. So, it all takes time.”

According to Allen, Bee Line Cable started in Houlton, Maine, in 1954 by Owen Hannigan. “We’re the oldest broadband company in the state of Maine,” he stated.

Allen said Charter has been interested in Bee Line Cable for a long time, since they were originally Time Warner Cable.

“Time Warner was always knocking on our door because our properties are pretty nice,” he said.


Bee Line provides service for several communities, including East Millinocket, Millinocket, Anson, Madison, Skowhegan, Farmington, Wilton, and Industry. In Wilton, Bee Line services almost 1,900 residents.

Melinda Kinney, sr. director government affairs for Charter Communications and Shelley Winchenbach, director government affairs for Charter Communications, appeared before the Wilton select board on Tuesday, March 7, to give a presentation for Charter Communications and what the company has to offer.

In their presentation, it was established that Charter Communications offers services in 41 states with 32 million customer relationships and over 800,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure national nationwide.

Within Maine, Charter provides services to 295 communities [not including those in the Bee Line Acquisition] and has 753 employees. Charter Communications boasts a customer base of roughly 466,000, according to the directors’ presentation.

Originally Time Warner Cable, Charter purchased the entity in 2016 for $56.7 billion and has taken over as the dominant cable service provider in Maine.

With the acquisition, Charter will be absorbing Bee Line and all their assets within the region, as well as the personnel that Bee Line currently employs. “I gotta go through an interviewing process and figure it out, but we’ve got a lot of talent at Bee Line and a lot of long term employees,” Allen said. “I expect they’re going to pick up the majority of the employees.”


At the select board meeting, Town Manager Perry Ellsworth expressed his feelings about the acquisition. “Bee Line didn’t take very good care of Wilton and hasn’t met its commitments for a number of years,” he stated.

Allen, who was present at the meeting, spoke in defense of Bee Line, “I can provide you with all the line extensions that we’ve been doing in Wilton, and the emails that have been going back and forth between me and Rhonda Irish for years,” he stated.

“During the COVID pandemic,” he continued, “when that started, we were right out straight building line extensions. I’m more than happy to provide you with a list, but we’ve been, and we’ve been building out.”

Ellsworth did not acknowledge this statement.

More about the acquisition is the come, but for more information on how this may affect current customers in Wilton or any of the other communities that are serviced by Bee Line, contact them at [800] 439-4611.

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