Last month, we shared that construction was underway to bring fiber internet to over 2,200 homes in the Battle Ground area. Many residents in that area have expressed their elation for the service. It’s very rewarding to hear how enthusiastic they are for better internet service.
However, for every excited individual, there are many more who are frustrated that their area isn't next. This is especially true for long-suffering rural consumers; many who have no real option at all. Their disappointment is why we're responding so aggressively.
Tipmont and Wintek are on a mission to transform our co-op from an electric-only provider to an essential services provider - the tools we know our communities need to be successful. High speed broadband is crucial to individual, family, and community success.
While there are some very rural areas in the Battle Ground build, there are also some areas that have other service options available. After completing our first build in the very rural areas of Linden, New Richmond and Romney, the higher population density in the second build area will help stabilize the fiber business so we can serve the more rural areas long-term. This balance is vital to the sustainability of the project.
Another step we're taking is applying for grant funding both at the federal and state level. The grants are designed to aid providers willing to bring higher speed internet to underserved rural areas. If successful, these grants would provide considerable support to our project. Each grant has timeline requirements that would be factored into our build strategy and accelerate our ability to deploy in those areas. We hope to know more about the application results later this summer.
Wintek, powered by Tipmont, is committed to providing this state-of-the-art fiber internet solution to every consumer we serve, not just those that are profitable. That’s what a co-op is all about – people pulling together to acquire collectively crucial services they could not achieve on their own.
The question we hear repeatedly – "When will we get service???" – is totally understandable. The answer is we don’t fully know yet. But what we do know is that our entire Tipmont/Wintek team and board of directors is on a mission to deliver the services we know our communities need.
If you’ve not done so already, please mark your calendar for our 2019 Annual Meeting on Saturday, July 27th at McCutcheon High School. We’ll share all the details in next month’s magazine and in a letter to your home. We certainly have a lot to talk about and I look forward to seeing you there.