Broadband is coming to some rural Missouri homes because members asked their electric cooperative for it and the co-op listened.
Co-Mo Electric Cooperative is just weeks away from bringing the first subscribers online. They are part of a pilot project that could eventually expand to its entire 2,300- square mile service territory.
Randy Klindt, information technology manager at the Tipton-based co-op, said Co-Mo Connect was member-driven from the start.
“I don’t know if they saw other co-ops doing this, or had friends and relatives living somewhere where they were served by a co-op, but calls started to come in, asking if we were ever planning on doing it,” Klindt said.
Co-Mo surveyed the membership in 2009 and discovered that only about 19 percent had broadband access, less than half the rural average. That led the co-op to apply for a stimulus grant, during which time it asked to hear from interested members.