Kosciusko Connect is a new, local internet service provider bringing fiber-to-the-home internet to rural Kosciusko County and surrounding communities. The company was officially founded in early 2021 by Kosciusko Rural Electric Membership Corporation (KREMC) to bring reliable, high-speed internet to their underserved members.
According to Curt Barkey, KREMC Vice President of Technology and Broadband, Kosciusko Connect will have an unprecedented impact on local communities: “From E-learning to telehealth, internet is essential for life today, but it’s not readily available in many rural areas. Our goal is to help our community thrive through reliable, high-speed internet that connects people to people, education and business.”
Kosciusko Connect’s network will be made up of fiber-optic internet cables, which use tiny strands of glass to carry data through light waves. Fiber internet can support high speeds and high traffic, and it is less susceptible to interference and nature damage than other types of internet networks.
“Fiber-to-the-home internet networks are the gold standard of communications transmissions,” Barkey says. “We want to provide a service that we are proud of – so we decided to build the best. Our members deserve great internet from a local company that they can trust.”
Once the fiber is inside the customer’s home, installers will attach it to a device called an ONT (Optical Network Terminal) which converts the fiber to enable it to connect to a router. Both the ONT and router will be provided by Kosciusko Connect.
Currently, Kosciusko Connect is developing an app that will empower users to easily troubleshoot and monitor their network performance, create multiple custom wireless networks, and manage their connected devices. They also plan to offer additional upgrades to customers who are looking for a more personal in-home fiber experience. These upgrades include advanced network protection, in-depth parental controls, and signal boosters for wi-fi in large homes.
Barkey says that Kosciusko Connect will provide excellent customer service: “KREMC is known for responsive, personal member service, and we plan to uphold that reputation with Kosciusko Connect. We know how important reliable tech support and customer service are for an internet service provider, and we want our future customers to know that they will be able to count on us whenever they need help.”
Currently, Kosciusko Connect is nearing connections in Zone 1 of their initial five-zone buildout. During the project’s initial stage, construction is centered in KREMC service territory to serve KREMC members, but their focus will broaden in the future. Once they have finished their initial build, which they estimate will happen in late 2022 or early 2023, they plan to expand.
“We are already working to secure funding for future expansion,” Barkey says. “The need for better internet impacts our entire rural community, and we want our non-member friends and neighbors to know that we will do everything we can to reach everyone who wants our service.”
In the meantime, Kosciusko Connect is encouraging members and non-members alike to visit their portal to pre-register and see when service is coming their way. Kosciusko Connect uses pre-registration data to order materials, plan home installations, and study underserved areas for future expansion. After pre-registration, they encourage anyone who is interested to follow their social media pages for project updates.
“I could not have predicted the full expanse of this project’s workload, but I think I speak for all of us here at KREMC and Kosciusko Connect when I say that I’m glad we’re going to provide this service,” Barkey says. “We are excited to continue creating positive change in our community.”