Electric Utility to Bring 3,250 Miles of Broadband to Rural Pennsylvania

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With federal funding won through an FCC auction, a regional electric cooperative will bring broadband to more than 16,000 customers in rural Pennsylvania.

A federally-funded regional project, spearheaded by a regional electric utility cooperative, is going to implement broadband Internet service across rural northcentral Pennsylvania .

The full fiber roll out is expected to take six years, according to the Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative (Tri-County).

“We are excited for the opportunity to deliver high-speed, fiber-optic Internet service to the homes, farms and businesses across our service region,” said Craig Eccher, Tri-County president and chief executive officer. “This will provide our rural region of Pennsylvania with first-class Internet service and enable our consumer-members to enjoy smooth, uninterrupted live streaming and lightning-fast download speeds that those living in urban areas take for granted. We also expect the availability of broadband Internet service to spur economic development in our region, creating opportunities in areas such as telemedicine and distance learning, and opening doors for future business ventures.”

Tri-County has more than 16,600 consumer-members in Pennsylvania’s Bradford, Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, McKean, Potter and Tioga counties.

In August, the utility was one of 35 public cooperatives to win bids in the Connect America Fund II Auction. Tri-County secured $3.2 million per year for 10 years in federal support.

The FCC auction allowed electric cooperatives to bid for funding as broadband service providers for the first time, according to America’s Electric Cooperatives. The total funding from the 2018 auction awarded $225 million for rural broadband.

Recently, Tri-County selected Vantage Point Solutions for engineering and project management services for its upcoming fiber-to-the-home broadband deployment that will be offered to its consumer-members.

Vantage Point will oversee the multi-year project with more than 3,250 miles of fiber optic line planned for Tri-County REC’s service territory. Construction is expected to begin later this year in the townships surrounding Coudersport.

Our goal is to bring high-speed broadband to rural communities, just like we did for electricity. Vantage Point has the experience to bring that vision to fruition,” said Eccher.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.