First Rural Fiber Cable Internet Users are Now Online in Vanderburgh County
AT&T and Vanderburgh County Cooperating to Bring Fiber Cable Internet Access to 20,000 Residents
Residents and businesses in northeast Vanderburgh County are the first to experience the new AT&T fiber optic internet access, which was celebrated at a news event on Wednesday at Farm 57 near McCutchanville.
This is the first part of a nearly $40 million dollar project, and a joint effort between Vanderburgh County and AT&T, to bring fast internet access to underserved parts of the county. The county will pay about $10 million, and AT&T, the remainder.
The company “flipped the switch” on the first 2,000 internet access points on Wednesday, and the owners of Farm 57 are one of the 100 or so customers who signed up so far.
Co-owner Stephanie Peckenpaugh said this access will help their business to grow, since now they can have strong internet access outside their main building.
“We do a lot of events outside. We have food truck events,” she said “We have a lot of family events, weddings, company parties out here. So to be able to be connected outside is a wonderful advantage for us.”
AT&T CEO John Stankey said getting fast internet to the rural county is about equity.
“So that everybody has the opportunity to gain access to the economy, to healthcare, to education, to your loved ones on the same terms that everybody else has.”
The company along with county officials and even Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, a native resident, celebrated the first part of the project coming on line.
“Fiber is the most durable technology out there,” Stankey said. “So Vanderburgh County is going to be well-positioned for decades to come, in terms of how technology evolves, and bandwidth evolves.”
Recently the Vanderburgh County Commission voted to fund the fiber construction project that will reach the final 10-percent of residents, said County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave who spearheaded the project.
“We didn't want to leave anybody out. So it's significant in that it's 100 percent of the county,” she said. “So it's a contractual obligation. But it just brings the 90 or 100 properties that were left out of the original AT&T contract, into the contract.”
The entire project has to be completed by November 2023.
Stankey said qualifying residents can pay a reduced rate for access — $30 — which can be offset by an equal government reimbursement.
He said this will apply to residents earning up to 150-percent of the food assistance threshold rate.
This reduced rate is for 100 megabyte upload and download speed internet. He said regular rates will depend on the amount of products bought from the company.