By Dewayne McDonald and Johnny McClanahan
The availability of high-speed internet in Warren County has long been a topic of concern among residents.
Like a lot of the country, some of our most rural residents are consistently at a disadvantage when it comes to broadband access. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting work-from-home and nontraditional instruction requirements have only deepened the digital divide.
Now more than ever, high-speed internet access is a crucial resource for families and businesses alike. However, rural broadband is a challenging task. If it were a profitable endeavor, the large private companies would already provide the service.
Before COVID-19 was even imagined, the Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. board of directors heard the call for high-speed internet from our members loud and clear. Though our primary mission is to provide safe, reliable electricity, we knew there was an opportunity for potential partners to provide high-speed internet services to our members who are underserved or unserved. North Central Telephone Cooperative, a local telephone cooperative, saw that same need in Warren County as it was rolling out its high-speed internet service in neighboring Allen County.