Several rural counties in east central Indiana, where high-quality Internet access isn't readily available, can anticipate changes in the future, thanks to their local electric cooperative. According to WANE.com, Heartland Rural Electric Member Cooperative (REMC) will be embarking on an expansive project to provide high-quality Internet access via 3,000 miles of new fiber optic infrastructure. The network will serve around 20,000 members in four counties.
The [cooperative] borrowed money to fund the project. In addition, Heartland REMC received several multi-million dollar 10-year tax abatements from Huntington, Wabash, and Wells counties for the project.
The total amount for the project is estimated to be $51 million.
“It’s going to be a long payback period,” [CEO Robert] Pearson said, “but the one commitment we had to make and figure out how to do is to make sure it wasn’t put on the backs of our ratepayers. So no rates will ever be raised because of this. We feel like … there are enough people that want this in order to have the support to pay it back.”
Though Heartland REMC will be constructing the lines for the services, they are partnering with TWN Communications to provide and run the new internet service.
But if you’re not a Heartland REMC member, you can still receive the service. Everyone in the county that does not have high-speed internet can get it as long as the lines are in their area.
Pearson told WANE.com:
“It’s a need in the rural areas and no one else will do it....We at Heartland being a cooperative and servicing those members felt like if no one else is going to do it then we need to because high-speed internet in today’s society is crucial.”
Watch the story on the project, which the cooperative expects to finish in three years: