Consolidated Electric Expands Broadband Access Within Its Territory

Thanks to a $1 million grant and a $1.4 million loan, customers of Consolidated Electric Cooperative now have greater access to broadband internet service.

The project began several years ago with a $1 million grant awarded to Consolidated Electric through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a $1.4 million loan received from the Broadband Initiatives Program administered by the Rural Utilities Service.

The project has resulted in 200 miles of fiber optic cable designed to bring high-speed internet and economic development to parts of rural Ohio in and around the territory served by Consolidated Electric.

“I’m just delighted that you have taken on the task of building this fiber optic ring and bringing these resources to these communities,” USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, Under Secretary, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, said during the project’s dedication ceremony.

“It gives an opportunity for so many millions of people to do business and stay in their communities and grow the economy in rural areas,” he said. “Our long-term commitment is to get broadband out to everybody in the rural area just as you all did with rural electricity.”

Bringing broadband to underserved areas isn’t all that dissimilar from the original mission of electric cooperatives, Dan Boysel, Consolidated Electric’s Director of Economic Development said. “Fiber today is today what electricity was back then.”