Broadband to expand in county


WILMINGTON — County commissioners and Spectrum announced this week that in previously un-served and under-served parts of Clinton County, there will be upgraded existing connectivity and expanded internet access. Spectrum, a leading broadband service provider, is launching its Gigabit Broadband, mobile, TV, and voice services — bringing high-speed internet access to thousands of residents and small businesses for the first time, according to officials.

The joint announcement, held Monday outside the Clinton County Administrative Campus, saw Spectrum representatives, community leaders, and elected officials come together to highlight the benefits of Spectrum’s network expansion projects throughout the area. Construction began in January 2022, and this project will extend broadband services to more than 2,000 locations, with activations currently 85% complete.

The announcement also included a local agreement between Spectrum and Clinton County, representing an additional investment of $18-plus million, according to officials. This agreement will further expand broadband services to an additional 3,000 locations, ultimately connecting over 5,000 homes and small businesses across all 13 townships within the county.

Jeff Gehrig, regional vice president of operations at Spectrum, emphasized the company’s commitment to bridging the digital divide: “Spectrum is bringing gigabit broadband to un-served communities across America through RDOF and other state and local programs, such as our agreement with Clinton County. Our investment is making it possible to deliver high-value broadband, offering residents and small businesses superior connectivity at highly competitive prices, backed by a team of skilled local technicians and U.S.-based customer service.”

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup expressed the importance of this commitment by saying, “The commitment by Clinton County and Spectrum is vital to the growth and prosperity in the region. Our students, seniors, and businesses rely on the power of fast and affordable internet for education, connection, and growth. This expansion will help grow the capabilities of our communities.”

Clinton County Commissioners have allocated $7.6 million for this project, with over $6.5 million coming from the federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The Board of Commissioners conducted a comprehensive study, including public meetings and input from the community, to assess existing internet services and identify priorities and specific needs related to remote work, e-learning/education, telehealth, public safety, and business operations. The study revealed that 47% of respondents lacked internet access entirely, according to officials.

The combined investment from both Spectrum and Clinton County exceeds $29 million, enabling the delivery of speeds of up to 1 Gbps, with minimum speeds of 300 Mbps download.

Commissioner Kerry R. Steed highlighted the strategic importance of this fiber installation by saying, “Internet connectivity is critical for families, students, and businesses. This fiber installation places Clinton County in a great position strategically for the right type of growth, to attract good companies to the county. Allocating ARPA dollars to reach un-served and under-served areas of the county was an opportunity to use federal funds in a manner that would make a lasting impact.”

Commissioner Mike McCarty added, “This improvement in our infrastructure to state-of-the-art technology places Clinton County in a position to attract businesses and support the needs of residents.”

At the event on Monday, Steed also expressed gratitude to everyone present and highlighted the new opportunities brought by the partnership with Charter Communications, saying, “With the help of Charter Communications, Clinton County is starting the engine of development. Today, we announce to the world that if you want to start a business at home, you can do that here in Clinton County. If you want to satisfy the needs of streamers, gamers, and binge-watchers, you can do that here in Clinton County. And if you’re a business that needs a remote workforce or connectivity to global markets, you can do it right here, thanks to Charter Communications, our new partner in Clinton County, serving all the residents.”

Jason Kershner, regional senior director for government affairs at Charter Communications, commonly known as Spectrum, highlighted the company’s commitment to delivering high-quality services, saying, “We’ve been consecutively ranked as one of the best rural internet service providers in the country. And we deliver the same high-value products and services that we offer in densely populated areas to Clinton County. We are very excited for that opportunity.”

Angela Anderson, area vice president, who will be supporting the Clinton County area, assured the community that the infrastructure expansion would be carried out seamlessly, saying, “We want to ensure that when the connection becomes live, people have a superior product they can count on and rely on day in and day out, connecting them with what is most important to each of them.”

Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dessie Rogers said she is pleased to see leaders from Clinton County recognize the need and take action to supplement the broadband expansion Spectrum is already doing in rural parts of the county.

“We have been working diligently with employers and service providers to increase broadband accessibility throughout our region, and we’re excited to celebrate Spectrum’s recent RDOF expansion and collaborative investment with Clinton County to bring high-speed, reliable internet connectivity to our communities,” Rogers said.

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