Kosciusko Connect’s Fiber Internet is Changing the Community’s Standards for Online Connections
By Kyrsten Newlon
Kosciusko Connect, a subsidiary of Kosciusko REMC (KREMC), began with the recognition of a need for high-speed internet in their rural community.
KREMC noticed the gap between the current internet provided and the internet quality that members of Kosciusko County needed. Grandparents wanted their grandchildren to be able to come over after school to do their homework online. Family members longed to connect with far-away loved ones over video calls but didn’t have strong enough internet to carry on clear conversations. With the rise of remote work, many struggled to transition into working from home due to slow internet speeds. When the electric cooperative began its market study of the area’s needs, the response was strongly in favor of a fiber-optic network.
Kosciusko Connect was born from this desire to provide homes with necessary access to technology and communication. A fiber-optic network was the best way to do this because of the durability and long-lasting nature of fiber. These strands of glass would create a more reliable, high-speed connection for the homes that KREMC already powers. In December of 2021, Kosciusko Connect turned on a new internet connection for their first member. From there, they grew steadily throughout 2022.
“Our Kosciusko Connect team, alongside KREMC, has made an impact on our community,” said Kurt Carver, President and CEO of Kosciusko REMC, “The services we are providing for our members will impact the quality of their lives for years to come.”
Recently, Kosciusko Connect celebrated an installment milestone. As of August 25, 2022, they surpassed 3,000 KREMC members connected to their fiber-optic internet network. The achievement spurred a celebration among the company’s employees, including balloons, social media announcements and ice cream.
“Kosciusko Connect has connected over 3,000 members, an accomplishment we never imagined when we installed fiber for our first member in December of 2021. Now, we’re on track to connect over 4,000 members by the end of 2022,” said Carver.
By 2023, KREMC’s entire service area is expected to be open for fiber installations. Currently, about 100 homes are connected to fiber every week, which is regularly celebrated at the KREMC facility. Eventually, Kosciusko Connect hopes to expand to homes in the Kosciusko County area that are not members of KREMC’s electric services.
“Bringing fiber internet to our community is a long-term process that requires dedication and consistency from our company,” said Curt Barkey, Vice President of Technology and Broadband at Kosciusko Connect. “We continue to stay rooted to our original motive: to provide fast, reliable internet connections to the rural Kosciusko area,” he added.
One of the key features of Kosciusko Connect’s internet experience is Guardian, a tool that provides advanced network security and parental controls. With Guardian, customers can prioritize devices on their network, view the security threats that are blocked daily, and protect younger internet users from explicit or dangerous content online. Guardian is designed to give customers full control of their network security, customization, and parental guidance. Guardian is an add-on to the Kosciusko Connect app, which can be downloaded in the App Store or Google Play.
In addition to providing fiber internet, Kosciusko Connect is looking to offer new services to its customers. Starting this fall, members of Kosciusko REMC will also be able to sign up for Kosciusko Connect’s telephone service, which uses Voice over Internet Protocol to deliver a clear connection through the fiber network. The residential telephone plan will be offered at a discounted price to those who are already using Kosciusko Connect’s residential fiber internet.
Soon, Kosciusko Connect will introduce a new solution for affordable TV through their fiber internet. This tool will determine the customer’s preferences and favorite channels, then provide the streaming package that fits their needs. It will offer the TV channels and content that customers watch regularly, without the expensive costs or hidden fees that are often a part of a TV package.
As Kosciusko Connect gains awareness and support in their community, their internet services receive positive feedback from connected members.
“It energizes our team at Kosciusko Connect when we hear how the services we provide are changing lives,” said Tara Haack, Manager of Marketing and Communications, “Fast, reliable internet is no longer a luxury. It makes essential services like healthcare and education more accessible. It provides professionals with the ability to work from anywhere. It allows families and friends who are separated by distance to stay connected.”
To learn more about what Kosciusko Connect is doing, visit kosciuskoconnect.com and visit their social media pages.