Hardy Telecommunications

Content tagged with "Hardy Telecommunications"

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Wired for Good: Exploring Rural Connectivity in West Virginia - Episode 597 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this latest episode of the podcast, Chris is joined by Derek Barr, Assistant General Manager at Hardy Telecommunications in West Virginia. Together, they delve into the intricate world of nonprofit cooperatives, focusing on the journey of Hardy Telecommunications since its inception in 1953. 

Originally established to fill the service gap left by larger providers, Hardy Telecommunications has since expanded its offerings to include broadband services, becoming a lifeline for rural communities with about 6,100 access lines and nearly 5,100 broadband customers.

Derek candidly shares the rollercoaster ride of being a small provider, from wearing multiple hats to navigating the maze of regulatory changes. They explore the ripple effects of federal funding programs like the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) on their expansion efforts.

But it's not just about challenges; Chris and Derek paints a picture of hope through partnerships with counties and emphasizes the ongoing need for support and funding to keep the broadband momentum going in rural areas.

This show is 36 minutes long and can be played on this page or using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Transcript below.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show: please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or see other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Rural Cooperative Hardy Telecommunications Does The Heavy Lifting In Unserved West Virginia

The rocky rural hills of West Virginia are a formidable foe when it comes to building high-speed Internet infrastructure that offers affordable high-quality service.

Nobody knows that better than Hardy Telecommunications (OneNet), a small community-owned cooperative that delivers affordable fiber to frustrated locals deemed too costly and cumbersome to be served by the incumbent telecom giants.

The cooperative serves parts of four counties (Hardy, Pendelton, Grant, and Hampshire). It connected its first fiber customer in 2013, after receiving $31.6 million in federal BTOP funding. Since then, the cooperative tells ILSR they’ve spent $20 million of their own funds to bring fiber to rural corners of the aptly-named Mountain State.

Derek Barr, Assistant General Manager at Hardy Telecommunications, says the cooperative currently delivers broadband service to 5,050 rural subscribers – 4,736 of which are on fiber lines that simply wouldn’t exist without federal funding programs. Hardy Telecommunications also provides 68 customers with fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband service.

HardyNet service area map

“Our focus is fiber, and we're trying to build out fiber as much as we can,” Barr tells ILSR. “But it's very tough in our serving region. It's all mountains and a lot of trees, and a big chunk of our area is either state park or national forest land. It's also very hard to do fixed wireless because even if it might work in the winter, it's not going to work in the summer” when tree leaves block line of sight, he noted.

So the cooperative slowly and consistently expands fiber as it can, often in partnership with Pendleton County. As a result, locals have the option of a variety of double and triple play phone, cable, and fiber options, starting with a symmetrical 100 Mbps (megabit per second) downstream, 50 Mbps upstream fiber and phone bundle for $79 a month.