Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel) said it is preparing network upgrades for more than 17,000 subscribers acquired in a deal with Rapid Communications that was announced last summer.

Shentel provides phone, Internet and cable television services throughout Virginia’s northern Shenandoah Valley. The new customers are clustered around Covington, Va.; and Summersville and Weston, W.Va. Shentel formally took possession of those networks on Dec. 1.

Shentel COO Earle A. MacKenzie said that over the next two years the company will improve to faster Internet speeds, extend DVR service and expand digital programming. Shentel said it also plans to launch services including video-on-demand, high-definition TV and voice services.

Shentel's announcement and plans affect customers in the following West Virginia towns: Alum Bridge, Anstead, Belington, Boone County, Broad Run, Clay, Craigsville, Dingess, Drennan, Franklin, Gassaway, Gilboa, Glenville, Grantsville, Harrisville, Harts, Hillsboro, Marlington, Page/Scarbro, Pennsboro, Petersburg, Richwood, Summersville, Webster Springs, West Union and Weston. Also included is Allegany County, Va.

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