After several months of planning to become an internet service provider, we’re finally ready to begin connecting our first members. In August, our engineering group selected Berry It as our fiber construction contractor. By the time you read this, the Kokomo-based contractor will be well underway building the first connections near our Linden office.
Tipmont has dedicated thousands of hours in preparation over the last 18 months — and we’re ready! You may have read about the broadband impact study we completed with Purdue. The study, based on Tipmont’s analysis, estimated that for every dollar Tipmont invests in broadband, our communities will receive $4 in economic benefits. In other words, that’s a 400 percent return on investment.
Wally Tyner, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue and the author of the study, told us that this is one of the highest returns he’s seen in decades of doing these kinds of studies. I wasn’t surprised by this because you’ve been telling us for a long time how a lack of adequate broadband access places you at a significant disadvantage.
Tipmont is uniquely positioned to answer this challenge. We did it 80 years ago when we electrified rural homes and farms for the first time. We’re going to do it again with broadband because we strongly believe that all Americans should have equal access to the essential services and tools you need to be successful.
While our initial build area is defined, we need your help to decide where to build in the years to come. At our July Annual Meeting, we introduced a website called join.tipmont.org. On this website, Tipmont members can engage at a grassroots level to build interest in their area. The map above depicts members who have already registered on the site. As the map shows, the interest is widespread across our service footprint.
Demonstrating your interest helps us identify the parts of our service territory where the interest is highest. This interest, among other factors, will guide where we build next.
If you’ve already joined, please spread the word and get your neighbors, friends and family to show interest. We’re working on our end to build the system, and now we need you working to spread the word. As always, our Member Service team is available to answer any questions or help you through the process. We will have many more exciting announcements in the near future, so please stay engaged with us and follow our progress at join.tipmont.org.
Watch our board president’s video report from the 2018 Annual Meeting!