At the January 2018 board meeting, Tipmont REMC’s Board of Directors voted to authorize the design, construction and delivery of fiber optic broadband and related services to the Tipmont membership. The vote was unanimous and follows 18 months of due diligence, including extensive feasibility evaluation and market analysis.
“The core of Tipmont’s service has always been innovation, quality, and value,” said Bob Baker, Board President. “Bringing reliable high-speed internet and fiber optic communication to our members’ homes, schools and businesses is the latest extension of our commitment to Tipmont’s mission: to empower our communities by providing state-of-the-art essential services,” he added.
Satisfied by the research and after months of their own due diligence, Tipmont’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in late January to move forward with broadband services.
Tipmont will be joining over 80 other electric cooperatives across the country that are currently developing broadband offerings and responding to their members’ needs. (NRECA).
Tipmont’s mission is to empower our communities by providing state-of-the-art essential services. To empower is the acknowledgment that we provide tools for the membership to pursue their security, comfort, and convenience – their happiness. The tools we provide are requested by the membership and are generally available only because the membership banded together to help itself where the private sector fails. Despite the fact that these services are offered primarily in rural areas, the services will be state-of-the-art. This mission is dedicated to the equal opportunity and access for all Tipmont members.
Similar to 1939, we now find ourselves in a similar position with broadband. In recent years, demand for high-speed broadband service has been on the rise as more and more Americans depend on it as an essential service to meet a range of fundamental needs. Our member surveys have confirmed that the majority of Tipmont’s service area is underserved and membership demand for the service is strong. We have also conducted extensive market evaluation over the last 18 months to ensure that Tipmont’s broadband offering is consistent with demand driven by the membership.
We are currently designing the construction of a fiber network that will provide state-of-the-art high-speed communication services to our members. We plan to connect our first test group in late 2018.
This first build will begin near our Linden office allowing us to enhance our processes and provide a superior customer experience as we roll out the service to more members. Today, our build plan is spread over 8 years, but it is subject to change as we begin construction.
Stay tuned for updates, as we work to deliver broadband to your homes and businesses as quickly and efficiently as we can, but also with the reliability you expect from us.
Tipmont's broadband offering will include the "Triple Play" of telephone, television and fiber broadband internet. It will allow you to stream high-definition video and use multiple devices in your home at the same time.
The value we will provide includes:
There are two benefits to you: electric system benefits and economic benefits. Over the last few years, we’ve been connecting our substations with fiber optic communication. One of the new technologies fiber has enabled is called distribution automation.
Distribution automation is a fancy term for automatically restoring outages. If a problem occurs close to the substation, everyone else down the line is affected and out of power. Distribution automation devices isolate the problem area and efficiently reroutes power to you until a line worker is able to make repairs.
Therefore, if you’re not close to the problem area, you would be out for about a few minutes while the distribution automation device reroutes power, rather than a few hours waiting for repairs. They will especially benefit dense and distant areas where an outage either affects many people, or takes a long time to reach.
Regardless of whether you participate in Tipmont broadband, everyone in our entire Tipmont service area will benefit. Connectivity is vital for economic development, growth and overall well-being. Broadband has become a necessity of modern life, not a luxury. Rural communities are disadvantaged by the lack of access to high-speed internet service. This circumstance hinders telemedicine, education, business investment and general economic development, farm income, civic engagement, and even property values. To retain and attract businesses to our local economy, we must keep up with this growing demand.
As with any venture into a competitive market, we understand that there is risk. We are confident that the potential benefits to our members and our communities outweigh the risks.
The finances of both the broadband and the electric services will be separated so we can manage the health of both. We have used both rigorous internal and external feasibility studies and market analyses to ensure that our business units are self-sustaining.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.