Highland Telephone Cooperative Continuing Work on Fiber to Home Project – Part 2

Highland Telephone Cooperative is working on a long term project to make fiber to the home available for all of its customers in the county.  This is part two of this story and we’ll hear how and why Highland Telephone took on this big project.

Chad Kimble is the General Manager of Highland Telephone Cooperative in Monterey.

“In 2016, Highland Telephone adopted a program called ACAM, it’s the Alternate Connect America Fund,” says Kimble. “It’s a ten-year period that we have to provide a certain amount of service and bandwidth to our customers and we felt very confident that we could do that.  So, we accepted that ACAM model and over a period of ten years we have obligations that we have to meet.  We have geolocating that we have to meet to make the FCC happy with the money that we are spending and to reach all of our customers.  The ACAM model was a great option for Highland.  It brought the funding that we have needed to reach those customers out in some of these remote areas that cost an exorbitant amount of money to reach those locations.  We can run miles of cable and pick up two or three customers.  That’s what this was made for, universal coverage, and ACAM was a model that the telephone company looked at, the co-op looked at, and seen that this was good for our customers.  So, we actually did get a jump on our project and we started in 2016-2017.  We built the year 2016 from our own funds.  In 2017 we started on the ACAM model and from there we haven’t looked back.

Kimble says technology has always led the way for future plans for Highland Telephone.

“The technology itself is going to change and it’s important for the phone company itself, and I know it’s important for us as a co-op, to listen to the needs of our customers,” says Kimble.  “That’s what will drive us to deliver the services that we have to stay on top of.  When we need a symmetrical service, we need to be able to deliver that.  When we need some increased speeds, we need to be able to deliver that.  The co-op has been here for over a hundred years and we have provided services and have stayed on top of technology.”

The fiber to the home project is now 90% complete.  The completion date for the entire project is set for the fall of 2023.

“Highland Telephone is a cooperative and we are pretty much driven from our customers,” says Kimble.  “We are a customer owned company.  We have had to listen to our customers over the years.  We have a Board of Directors that’s made up of the community and they bring their ideas in from the community and basically steer this company in the direction that they want it to get going in.   I think that’s very, very important, staying in front of the technology.  We have an awesome Board of Directors.  We’ve always had an awesome Board of Directors.  They are very technology driven and they understand the industry and I give that credit to them.  They have pushed this company in the direction that it’s going in right now.  It’s been really good.”

To hear part one of this story, which includes information on completed areas and the installation schedule for remaining areas in the county, visit our Facebook page or our website www.alleghenymountainradio.org

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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