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Local cooperatives partner to expand broadband access in rural Seneca County

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Tiffin, Ohio — A new fiber project was announced Tuesday as a partnership between two local cooperatives, North Central Electric Cooperative (NCE) and Bascom Communications.

The estimated $26 million project will connect the NCE service area and expand Bascom Communications’ existing fiber footprint, according to a press release from the cooperatives.

There are an estimated 9,600 homes in rural Seneca County and most lack fast and reliable Internet access. Bascom currently, and through their Rural Digital Opportunity Fund project, has gigabit capable fiber optic services available to approximately 39% of these homes. This project will increase fiber optic broadband access availability to 81% of rural homes and businesses and allow for even further expansion down the line.

“This project shows that the dream of ubiquitous fiber coverage in Seneca County is possible. This infrastructure will be the backbone for economic growth and education, putting us as a destination in the state of Ohio. The collaboration of the two co-ops who care deeply about our community and its well-being for the long run, while providing critical local support, is a huge win for the area,” said Nate Brickner, General Manager/CEO of Bascom Communications.

The need for fast, reliable, and affordable broadband internet has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and this project will increase access at a critical time for businesses and residents in the rural communities which has been highlighted recently by the Seneca County Broadband Study.

“Much like electricity in the 1930’s, broadband access is a necessity, not a luxury. Helping to bring this essential technology to our service area continues our record of providing services that enhance economic development and the quality of life for our members,” said Edward VanHoose, General Manager of NCE.

Project planning and backend work has already begun with construction slotted to begin in 2023. To learn more about the project, or to receive regular updates, visit http://www.bascomcommunications.com/nce/

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