SCI Fiber announces Phase 2
MARTINSVILLE — South Central Indiana Rural Electric Membership Corporation (SCI REMC) recently announced phase two of its four-phase fiber-to-the-home network, SCI Fiber, across its service territory. Construction on phase one of the SCI Fiber network began in June of this year, and phase two construction will begin in early 2019.
SCI REMC members in phase two, which passes 4,556 homes and covers part of Brown County and areas east and west of Martinsville, will have high-speed internet service available as soon as July of 2019.
“Members in phase two should encourage their neighbors and friends to preregister on our website join.sciremc.com,” said SCI REMC President and CEO James Tanneberger, “because whichever areas in phase two have the highest percentage of pre-registered members, will be the areas that get internet access first.” Tanneberger explained that while phase two is set, the first ones in phase two to get fiber connected will depend on how many people are preregistered online. “The most concentrated sign up areas within phase two will have service as soon as July of 2019, while the last sections in phase two should be connected in early 2020.”
Phase one of SCI REMC’s SCI Fiber project is already under construction and will be available to 4,190 homes starting in early 2019. The phase one construction area is southeastern Morgan County near Cope and Taggart Crossing, northwestern Brown County near Waycross, and around Lake Lemon in Monroe County. SCI REMC members in these areas will have high-speed internet available at speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second.
If they have not done so already, members in phase one still need to preregister online at join.sciremc.com to get free installation. As the backbone and main-line distribution fiber facilities are being completed, SCI will begin contacting members to arrange to bring fiber to each member’s home. This last major construction step is called a “drop”. The drop construction will bring fiber cable across the property to a termination point on the outside of each member’s home. Once the drop is terminated and tested, the final step is the in-home installation appointment. At the in-home installation appointment, SCI Fiber will connect the fiber cable inside the homes, set up the in-home equipment, and perform the necessary steps to begin providing services to the member.
“We started this fiber project because quality of life and economic development are tied to the availability of high-speed internet,” said Tanneberger. “Communities within our service territory are underserved, and we recognize the positive role SCI REMC can play in meeting our members’ needs.”
High-speed internet in rural areas has been a large cause, shared by several groups including the Office of the Lt. Governor of Indiana, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and local legislators.
Since 1939, SCI REMC has provided essential electric services, mostly in remote rural locations. Availability of high-speed communications and internet access in the areas they serve has today become as critical to the health and prosperity of rural communities as availability of electricity service was in the 1930s.
“Access to a high-speed internet connection has gone from a luxury to a necessity, and most of our electric members are at risk of being left behind,” said Tanneberger. “We want to make sure this does not happen.”
High-speed internet access in the rural areas means: more economic development with businesses being able to move into these areas, potentially higher property values for electric co-op members, access to advancements like tele-health, online classes and more. Additionally, installing fiber throughout the SCI REMC service territory will help modernize electric operations to meet members’ growing desires to save energy through load control and other functions that require smart infrastructure.
SCI Fiber is a division of SCI REMC, a member-owned cooperative electric power provider. SCI REMC is one of 38 rural electric cooperatives in Indiana. Electric cooperatives were organized throughout the state in the 1930s. At that time, investor-owned utilities were supplying power in urban areas but would not supply electric power to rural customers. This was common across the country at that time in history. People living in rural areas saw that those in cities had electricity and wanted it as well. As a result, with loans from the Rural Electrification Administration, rural communities banded together and created electric cooperatives. Hoosiers 79 years ago in Morgan, Monroe, Owen, Brown and parts of Putnam, Clay and Johnson counties, pooled their money, and set poles and tied lines by hand to bring electricity to rural South Central Indiana in the form of SCI REMC.
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