We’ll be there, no matter what

March 31, 2020

 • BY Ron Holcomb

The Wintek public WiFi at North Montgomery High School
The Wintek public WiFi at North Montgomery High School
The Wintek public WiFi at North Montgomery High School
The Wintek public WiFi at North Montgomery High School

As I write this, we're in unprecedented and uncertain times. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected so many of our longstanding institutions and disrupted daily life for all of us. In the case of Tipmont and Wintek, our delivery of critical infrastructure makes our responsibility to the communities we serve more important now than ever.

The cover story in this month’s Indiana Connection takes a statewide look at the rural internet gap that Wintek powered by Tipmont has been addressing for several years now. The cover photo was taken along N 75 E in our Battle Ground build area. As the new (and hopefully short-lived) reality of social distancing has emerged, I am reminded of why our mission to provide essential services to rural communities is so crucial.

In recent days, health care officials have been calling for an expansion of telemedicine to keep those who might not be infected away from hospitals and outpatient clinics. As many of us in rural communities know, telemedicine just isn't feasible when your internet service is inadequate to the task.

Many workers have been encouraged to telecommute. When your home internet connection can’t handle a connection with your workplace, that hurts your productivity and puts you at a disadvantage.

Nearly all of the schools and daycare facilities have closed, leaving working parents with school-age children facing difficult decisions. I’ve met many of you who’ve told me about your trips to McDonald’s or Starbucks to keep up with e-learning work. When those options aren’t available, what’s left?

The answer is “we” are.

On Monday, March 16, our Wintek crews switched on free public WiFi in the North Montgomery High School parking lot. The public WiFi will remain available until it is no longer needed. North Montgomery Superintendent Dr. Colleen Moran shared this with us:

North Montgomery is so appreciative of the public WiFi provided by Tipmont at this unprecedented time of uncertainty. Since we do have several rural students without access to high speed Internet, this resource alleviates a great deal of anxiety and frustration for our families.

Dr. Colleen Moran, North Montgomery Superintendent

This is what we’ve been doing since the late 1930s – providing essential services where private companies won't. Know that we recognize and cherish our special responsibility to you. We'll be there, no matter what.

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Ron Holcomb

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Ron is a 30 year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont REMC as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.