Blog // Connect Ohio
7 Local Businesses Providing Initial Capital to Build Out Broadband Access in Troy Township
Troy Township in Geauga County is made up of 871 total households, half of which have no access to high-speed broadband. CUE Band is in the process of completing a WiMAX expansion plan to extend high-speed Internet access to 650 homes and businesses, with more than 400 of those locations previously unserved.
Geauga County Commissioners and Troy Township Trustees have been working to get service to the area, as it has seen many businesses and residences struggling with inadequate service for many years. Interest in broadband access was seen in a series of community meetings which were sponsored and held by township trustees.
“We entered into an agreement with CUE Band to provide the last mile of service to our residents; this created a public/private solution to an issue that was hampering our business bottom line and our residents from accessing the Internet,” said Geauga County Commissioner Tracy Jemison. “Understanding that broadband is needed for economic development, the county decided to see if we could leverage our 800 MHz radio network to provide broadband service to our residents and businesses. To do so, we needed a partner with an ISP that could provide the last mile of service to the community."
Over the course of the meetings, CUE Band was able to generate 125 subscribers interested in having Internet service. The demand for the service was apparent, with funding being the remaining barrier left for CUE Band to build out Internet access in the area.
“The Founders Club,” made up of 7 local businesses, put down payments on broadband service, which is how the project build-out is being funded. Interest in the Founders Club to fund the project stems from the businesses being unserved or the service that is available is not meeting the company's needs.
“The Founders Club members are all paying 24 months in advance and will receive 30 months of service in return,” said David Weddell, CEO of CUE Band. “It is a way for us to raise upfront capital to make a project work. We want to really give them credit for stepping up as founders for their community because without them, it would not be possible for us to build out in the area.”
This last mile expansion project is rather unique, as Geauga County is ahead of the state average in both percentage of residents who access the Internet (at 88% above the state average of 82%) and in home broadband service subscription (at 72%, above the state average of 66%), according to Connect Ohio’s 2011 Residential Technology Assessment for Geauga County.
“One of the reasons Troy Chemical (a member of the Founders Club) donated the land for the county communication tower was to facilitate broadband access to this area,” said Lee Imhof, Troy Chemical’s president. “Today’s world runs on the Internet. The new broadband service will bring value to our community, and existing and future businesses.”
Other area companies that make up The Founders Club are:
· Ken’s Auto Body, Inc.