Tennessee Co-op Expands In Kentucky

A Tennessee communications cooperative will soon bring fiber connectivity to Kentucky’s Warren County. North Central Telephone Cooperative (NCTC) will offer high-quality Internet access via gigabit (1,000 Megabits per second) connectivity via its North Central Communications, Inc., subsidiary.

Starting With New Construction

NCTC will start in a new subdivision and has already installed fiber prior to new home construction. The cooperative will also offer services in a nearby apartment complex. NCTC will make Internet access along with video service available to the new homes that are not yet built. They intend to expand to other multi-dwelling units and subdivisions in the area and hope to develop a larger regional footprint.

In order to accomplish their goal, NCTC is enlisting the help of other local entities:

“We’re talking to Warren Rural Electric Cooperative and Bowling Green Municipal Utilities, trying to implement your vision that everyone in Warren County is served by broadband eventually,” said [Nancy White, NCTC CEO]. “We all have the same vision to provide broadband to as many people as want it.”

Not A Stranger To Kentucky

Approximately 120,000 people live in Warren County with a little more than half making their homes in the county seat of Bowling Green. The population has increased steadily by double digits since 2000. It’s located in the south central area of the state and also home to Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College and Western Kentucky University.

On September 8th, the Warren County Fiscal Court approved a non-exclusive franchise agreement to allow NCTC to serve people in the county. NCTC is already serving subscribers in Allen County as part of the Kentucky Wired project. Warren County adjacent on the northwest border of Allen County. 

“They’ve been in Allen County for quite some time, and I have nothing but good things to say about them,” Allen County Judge-Executive Johnny Hobdy said. “They have continued to upgrade and bring service to parts of our county that hadn’t been served. I think Warren County will be satisfied with their service.”

The Kentucky Wired project paid NCTC to deploy fiber from Allen County into Warren County and NCTC will fund the build out within Warren County. 

“We had always wanted to come to Bowling Green, but it was expensive,” White said. “When the opportunity came along to work with Kentucky Wired, we built it for them.”

Finally Another Choice

Locals can welcome the announcement that incumbent Spectrum will face competition in Warren County. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, customers have become increasingly unhappy with the cable provider. This past spring, subscribers attended a city commission meeting to complain about Spectrum’s new policy of encrypting channels. The only way subscribers could view those channels was with a special device connected to each television.

With NCTC in the area, Spectrum may realize that they need to work harder to please customers. Along with the encryption issue, people have complained to elected officials about Spectrum price increases.

Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said NCTC’s entry into Warren County is welcome news. He told the magistrates during the meeting: “This could be part of the answer to some of the calls you get every day.”

Rates for service in Warren County aren’t established yet, but NCTC advertises five tiers of symmetrical Internet access on their website. The rates vary from $49.95 per month for 30 Mbps to $89.95 for gigabit connectivity.

For more on how rural cooperatives are bringing high-quality connectivity to areas with poor or no services from the incumbents, check out our Cooperatives Build Community Networks resource page.