Widespread fiber optic network hailed as a game changer for rural school districts

Widespread fiber optic network hailed as a game changer for rural school districts

Local schools in Seneca East are excited to hear that reliable high-speed Internet access is coming to more rural areas of Seneca County.

BASCOM, Ohio — As elected officials work on possible plans to get high-speed internet to rural areas, two local businesses are teaming up to expedite some of that work in Seneca County.

Bascom Communications will partner with the North Central Electric Cooperative to extend fiber optic coverage in the county.

The new fiber lines will use North Central Electric’s existing infrastructure.

When complete, the $26 million expansion will bring high-speed Internet to the majority of the county’s rural area and prepare the network for future expansion.

“We’re covering about 39% now and hitting 81% when we’re done,” said Bascom Communications CEO and Managing Director Nate Brickner. “And then what we do is we’re going to set up the other areas. So the plan is we want to cover all the rural areas with fiber.”

Brickner expects the work will require the hiring of more employees, but isn’t sure how many will be needed.

Current North Central Electric customers who do not have high-speed Internet access can register on a special webpage to be eligible to upgrade in their home and receive updates as they become available. ‘project progress.

The expansion is being welcomed with open arms at local schools in Seneca East, where Superintendent Laura Kagy said students and teachers have been dealing with slow and unreliable internet while learning remotely.

“But we had no idea until every student was sent home to learn from home,” Kagy said.

She said the upgrades will not only help teachers and students communicate better, but will also open the door for the district to offer even more programs for students.

Bascom Communications will begin construction of its extensive fiber optic network over the next year.

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