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Herald Republican June 30 , 2021

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WLKI 100.3 Article



Steuben County REMC acquires iMAN with plans to build fiber to the home network.

Steuben County REMC has taken a significant step forward in bringing broadband to rural Steuben County. The REMC’s Board of Directors recently authorized the acquisition of iMan, dba Steuben County Fiber Network (SCFN) for $2.8 Million, effective January 2021, in an effort to provide fiber optic services to its members. The Board recognizes the importance of internet access, and the impact it has on the quality of life. They also understand the advantages broadband will bring to future growth and economic development to the region. This decision follows over 24 months of due diligence, including feasibility studies, and market analysis.

This is the first step in the expansion of a fiber to the home network that will bring broadband availability to their membership over the next 4 to 5 years. Steuben County REMC expects this $25 million investment in infrastructure to be capable of meeting the regions broadband needs into the future. The iMan acquisition will provide a reliable backbone that will bolster the project economics and build-out.

“We have a big job ahead of us, but our members have been here before when we collectively worked together to provide rural Steuben County with electricity at a time when no one else would. Today we find ourselves in a similar circumstance and it is again time to cooperatively light our future with broadband services.” Kevin Keiser, CEO Steuben County REMC

The SCFN currently serves every resident in our community through educational, governmental, healthcare, and business connections, that provide high-speed internet connectivity. In late 2018, the Steuben County Community Foundation proclaimed that the original mission of the fiber network had been achieved, and began a robust process of determining the next chapter of the network. The proceeds from the sale of SCFN will be permanently endowed in a Community Leadership Fund designed to support innovative ideas and foster development of new cross-sector community initiatives. “We look forward to creating similar partnerships for our community’s benefit year after year, forever,” Jennifer Danic, President and CEO of Steuben County Community Foundation.

“The Steuben County REMC is committed to honoring the founding spirit, and future growth of this community resource. They are dedicated to ensure that current access will not be disrupted, and the networks governance and management will remain local,” added Danic. The Steuben County REMC is an electric distribution cooperative with a not-for-profit business model that provides service to individuals and businesses across rural Steuben, LaGrange, and Dekalb counties. Optimizing engineering and deployment, as well as the opportunity to be awarded state and federal grants, the REMC will be able to maintain similar competitive rates, as they do currently. Keiser concludes, “If we consider the alternative of doing nothing as the rest of the world passes us by; the cost to our rates, and more importantly, our way of life, will be far greater.”


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