Fiber is fast


Posted on May 05 2023 in Southern Indiana Power
Darren Brown and Steve Seibert PSC
Daren Brown, PSC president and CEO (left) and Steve Seibert, SIP president and CEO.

Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative (d.b.a. PSC) has the most advanced fiber network in the Perry, Spencer and Dubois County area, and with the partnership of Southern Indiana Power (Southern), we’re thankful to have brought appreciably faster internet speeds to the majority of communities located within our service area.

In the last few years, PSC has made significant progress in growing its broadband service offerings. These efforts included deploying over 1,500 miles of fiber throughout most of the cooperative, upgrading systems to handle additional bandwidth and updating electronics to provide a more capable network of delivering broadband internet speeds up to 1 Gig to PSC customers. After accounting for the Perry-Spencer Rural Telephone Cooperative (PSC) fiber project that is scheduled to complete in 2024, the total infrastructure investment is expected to total around $60 million. A Rural Utilities Service loan of $24 million helped to fund this work. Teaming up with Southern provided an opportunity to expand PSC’s borders and build out fiber networks to places that were previously underserved or unserved.

“PSC understands the vital importance of consistent and reliable broadband internet service to the lives and livelihoods of residents and businesses in our area,” PSC President and CEO Daren Brown said. “Fiber broadband offers important advantages. At the top of the list is fiber’s ability to provide virtually unlimited bandwidth capacity and internet speed, enabling users to enjoy a better experience with data-intensive applications such as streaming, online gaming, cloud storage, online education, telehealth and more.”

Back in 2019, PSC was awarded a $15 million grant from Indiana Next Level Connections to deploy broadband to unserved members in two counties. Southern provided much-needed electric poles to attach fiber and over $2.5 million in pole make ready work to accommodate the fiber attachments. Funds from the Connect America Fund and Rural Digital Opportunity Fund reverse auctions will provide funding over 10 years. In addition, the Spencer County government committed $5 million in matching funds to support the project.

As part of the agreement, PSC owns the fiber huts, splitter cabinets and associated electronics and Southern owns the mainline fiber and drops with PSC leasing to own the fiber infrastructure. PSC maintains and provides the services over the fiber.

The two cooperatives have had a long and fruitful working relationship for decades. “There continues to be a lot of familiarity,” Southern President and CEO Steve Seibert said. “We have had an ongoing personal and business relationship among employees and directors.”

“Our employees and contractors have been doing an amazing job engineering, constructing and connecting customer locations to fiber on a daily basis,” Brown shared. “Their accomplishments are particularly impressive given the additional challenges associated with COVID-19 that led to many vendor and equipment delays. Despite all these obstacles, PSC was still able to connect a record number of customers to fiber since 2020. Nearly 6,000 locations passed with 700 miles of fiber, covering 328 square miles, with over a $34 million investment.”

However, the work is by no means complete. Building a fiber-to-the-home network in rural Indiana is not easy and takes time and extensive capital. With the cooperative spirit of both PSC and Southern coming together, along with community support, a great fiber broadband network has been built.

“We appreciate your continued support and thank you for your patience and understanding as we properly build this fiber network,” Brown said. “We look forward to seeing what we can achieve together in our communities.”