“For me, it’s amazing that he could have a vision of what the future might be, and then make that happen at a grass-roots level.” – Linda Jane Maaia, president & CEO
Nearly 50 years ago, John Donofrio had a vision for a communications network in Rhode Island’s East Bay. He incorporated Full Channel in 1965 and began working immediately to develop the platform which would become broadband in Rhode Island. In 1982, Full Channel opened its doors on Everett Street in Warren, delivering cable TV to customers throughout Barrington, Warren and Bristol.
Today, his daughter Linda Jane Maaia, son-in-law William C. Maaia and grandson Levi C. Maaia continue the tradition, running the only family-owned, independent broadband provider in Rhode Island, offering hundreds of channels on Full Channel Digital TV and residential and businesses High-Speed Internet and Digital Phone services.
“My father was a real visionary,” said Linda Maaia, president and CEO of Full Channel, Inc. “He started out repairing television sets as a hobby; he then became interested in what he thought would be the future of television and spent a lot of time researching and studying cable television.”
She added that at early regulatory hearings, he was often the one who knew the most about this then emerging technology.
In spite of increased competition, Full Channel is still the entrenched local provider with a more than 30-year history of serving the community. The company has always been an early supporter of innovative technologies.
“Full Channel was the first company in the state to offer pay-per-view,” explained Full Channel Labs president Levi Maaia. “In mid-1982, Full Channel was among very few cable providers to choose addressable cable boxes, to offer premium services with the press of a button.”
Linda added that her father was also an early adopter of high-speed Internet cable modem technology.
Full Channel continues its support of the community through the renovation of its studio for producing local public access programming and has aired live local coverage of the annual Bristol Fourth of July Parade at times when local broadcast TV stations would not. Levi explained that in Rhode Island, state regulators gave cable operators the choice of either continuing to host their own local public access channels or to funnel public access fees to the state’s public broadcasting outfit, which would then host the access channels. While the other TV providers opted into the state-run plan, Full Channel decided to keep its own local production facilities in Warren.
“This isn’t a hindrance, but a benefit to us as a small, local provider,” said Linda. “It’s part of something that people recognize us for. We want people to come in and see us.”
In 2008 the company began offering GreenLink, a partnership with People’s Power & Light to deliver broadband services to customers via 100% local wind power. As a result of its community commitment Full Channel was the recipient of the 2009 CableFAX Top Op Community Service Award.
“I’m in awe of what my father created from nothing,” Linda said. “For me, it’s amazing that he could have a vision of what the future might be, and then make that happen at a grass-roots level.”
modified from a story which appeared in ACAction
the newsletter of the American Cable Assoc.