Broadband: we heard you, and we're responding

March 29, 2018

 • BY Ron Holcomb

Spools of fiber in our Linden warehouse
Spools of fiber in our Linden warehouse
Spools of fiber in our Linden warehouse
Spools of fiber in our Linden warehouse

Tipmont is bringing broadband internet to our members!

Tipmont is a member-owned cooperative. Our mission is to listen and respond to your needs by providing the essential services that you need to be empowered. You’ve told us that affordable high-speed broadband is a necessity of modern life that many of you are lacking today. We heard you! And we are responding.

The board's unanimous vote to authorize broadband internet and related services follows 18 months of listening to your needs and conducting extensive feasibility evaluation and market analysis. This is an enormous and exciting step for all of us.

FAQs

Read the broadband internet FAQs.

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Of all the factors that our board considered, the most critical was your input. I’m very grateful to all of you who shared your thoughts with us, both through our member surveys and anecdotally. It left little doubt that many of you are suffering from the lack of affordable broadband internet access.

In Tipmont’s 2017 Member Survey, over 50 percent told us they do not have access to affordable high-speed broadband internet. This means that over half of Tipmont’s membership cannot video chat with family, stream videos, or further their education online.

Of those who do have internet service, over 50 percent are not satisfied with their current internet provider. Customer service was one of the most noted contributors. In the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), the average internet service provider satisfaction score was 64 out of 100. By comparison, Tipmont’s 2017 satisfaction score for electric service was 81 out of 100. You also told us that your strongest drivers of service satisfaction are speed and reliability. The fiber optics we are installing are the fastest and most reliable technology available today, with ample capacity to meet tomorrow’s needs.

The member survey results were quite compelling. However, the stories we heard directly from our members were even more powerful. For example, one member who owns and operates a small business from her home shared her frustrations of spending several hours each week just trying to connect with her clients because her internet reliability is so poor. Her home is less than two miles from the city limits. This inequality in rural America is unacceptable.

We are early in the process of developing our deployment plans, but I can tell you that we plan to connect our first members in late 2018 and that the pricing for the service, while not yet determined, will be market competitive.

I am sure that you have many more thoughts and questions. We will be holding member meetings later this spring as well as our Annual Meeting on July 28 at McCutcheon High School. Watch for more information in Electric Consumer, on our Facebook page, and on our website at tipmont.org/broadband.

In the meantime, I encourage you to write me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our Member Services team at 800-726-3953. We have taken an important step, but there are many more to come. Your continued feedback and input will be vital as we bring equal access and opportunity for rural communities, and a superior product and service for all Tipmont members.

Ron Holcomb

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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.
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