Glenn R. Jones, the influential cable entrepreneur who founded Jones Intercable, Jones International University and numerous other media-technology companies, has died at the age of 85.
"Glenn was a man before his time. He transformed the communications, information, entertainment and educational landscape by bringing cable television to millions of Americans," said Stacey Slaughter, CEO of Jones/NCTI, the Centennial, Colo.-based provider of distance learning services for cable and broadband technicians and service reps, which Jones also founded.
"He freed higher education from the brick walls of traditional universities by bringing learning to people in their own homes, first via cable and later through the Internet and mobile devices," Slaughter added. "While the word 'visionary' is often overused, it's a perfect description for Glenn. He leaves a tremendous legacy for our Jones companies and for the industries he served."
According his Jones International University bio, the University of Colorado School of Law graduate borrowed $400 against his Volkswagen in 1967 to purchase his first cable system, which he turned into Georgetown, Colo.-based Jones Intercable Inc. Organizing public limited partnerships, he then raised more than $1.2 billion in equity capital to start acquiring other systems.
After 32 years of growth, Jones Intercable became a top 10 U.S. cable system, and was swallowed up by Comcast in April 1999.
In parallel with his development of a tier one cable operator, Jones became an innovator in distance learning. In 1987, he launched cable TV network Mind Extension University. Later known as Knowledge TV, the channel enabled students to take courses from more than 30 colleges and universities via their TVs.
And in 1993, he founded JIU, which claims to be the first online university. Jones/NCTI, meanwhile, was formed in the mid-2000s when the entrepreneur purchased NCTI. Today, Jones/NCTI remains relevant, working with CableLabs to develop training curriculums for DOCSIS 3.1.
Jones was also a technology entrepreneur, founding Jones Cyber Solutions, a maker of customer management solutions, in the mid 1990s.
"Many of us worked side-by-side with Glenn for 20 years or more," Slaughter added. "He never retired. The businesses he created were his life's passion. Jones/NCTI and the Jones International family celebrate Glenn's countless contributions and honor his memory by continuing his vision for both the industry and our global community."
Added Matthew Polka, president and CEO of the American Cable Association: "ACA is very sorry to learn of the passing of Glenn Jones, a recognized cable pioneer whose entrepreneurial spirit inspired so many to pursue careers in the cable TV industry. Cable continues to innovate and invest in new technology because people like Mr. Jones showed long ago that cable operators had an obligation to exceed their customers' high expectations and their own. Mr. Jones will be missed by all who knew him but his legacy will live on. ACA would like Mr. Jones' family members to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers on this very sad occasion."
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