Indiana Co-ops Connect to Connect Members with Fiber

In June, Indiana’s Hendricks Power Cooperative and Endeavor Communications Cooperative announced that they will be partnering to expand fiber optic connectivity in west central Indiana. Endeavor will provide gigabit Internet and voice services over Hendricks's fiber optic network, bringing broadband to more than 5,000 households within the next four years.

Members Want It

According to the June press release, growth in Hendricks, Putnam, and Montgomery Counties have left businesses and residences in need of high-quality connectivity. The region is outside the Indianapolis metro and growing. Because it has been historically rural, large corporate Internet access companies have not made the same investments they’ve made in urban areas.

From the Hendricks Power press release:

“Our members and community leaders greatly expressed the need for access to high-speed Internet,” said Greg Ternet, CEO of Hendricks Power Cooperative. “Combining the resources of these two cooperative-based businesses will allow us to bring fiber-based technological services in a quicker and more efficient fashion. Joint investments by Hendricks Power and Endeavor Communications will help our community grow in terms of quality of life and economic development.”

Endeavor has been serving rural Indiana communities for around 65 years and began deploying fiber in 2006; they completed fiber deployment in 2016 in nine service exchange areas. With several awards under their belt at the state and national level, and ample experience at communications in rural environments, they seem a natural fit for another rural cooperative, such as Hendricks Power.

Hendricks began like many other electric cooperatives in the 1930s — with rural members working together to get power to their homes and farms. The co-op was formed in 1936 when the local utility, which was owned by private interests, would not expand out where population was sparse. Hendricks Power Cooperative now serves more than 30,000 members.

Getting A Gig

Endeavor is using crowdfiber to determine where to connect homes first. Folks should sign up to show interest and encourage their neighbors to do the same. After a neighborhood has reached a certain threshold, Endeavor will begin connecting households.

Rates begin at $59.99 per month for 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) and for a limited period, gigabit subscribers can get free installation and a monthly rate of $89.99. Endeavor also offers 300 Mbps for $79.99 per month. All speeds are symmetrical and there are no data caps.

Making it Easier for Co-ops

In 2017, Indiana passed legislation that made it easier for cooperatives to deploy fiber optic networks. The FIBRE Act expanded coverage of electric easements to cover broadband network infrastructure. In addition to inspiring cooperatives in the state to embark on projects they may have put off, the move set an example for other states to pass similar laws.

Rural electric and communications cooperatives in other states are also partnering to offer broadband via fiber optic infrastructure. Earlier this year, we reported on a collaboration in North Carolina between RiverStreet Networks and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives to tap into areas where large corporate providers don’t serve businesses or residents.

Learn more about how cooperatives are proving to be the strongest hope for high-quality connectivity in rural areas. Read our recently updated report, Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model For The Internet Era (Updated 2019)