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South Central Power Awarded 30 Million Dollar Grant for Rural Ohio for Broadband Access


Hillsboro, Ohio – South Central Power Company (SCPC), a prominent electric cooperative serving over 125,000 member-owners across 24 Ohio counties, has proudly announced the completion of the initial phase of its high-speed fiber internet service network, connectSCP. This initiative represents a significant step forward in bridging the digital divide for residents in underserved communities.

connectSCP, a wholly owned subsidiary of SCPC, was established specifically to address the critical need for high-speed broadband internet access in parts of 14 southwestern and eastern Ohio counties. The first phase of the project brings a state-of-the-art fiber internet network to the New Market area, encompassing portions of both Highland and Adams counties. Residents in Somerton, Belmont County, can also expect to be connected shortly thereafter. The initial wave of subscribers is anticipated to gain access to the service in early summer of 2024.

connectSCP offers symmetrical internet speeds starting at a remarkable 500 Mbps, delivered directly to homes and businesses through fiber-optic technology. This initial rollout will benefit over 2,500 locations in and around Highland County, with plans for continued expansion and network growth.

To celebrate this milestone achievement, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on February 22nd, 2024, at SCPC’s headquarters in Hillsboro. The event was co-hosted by connectSCP and the Highland Chamber of Commerce.

Beyond providing high-speed internet access, the 30-month project also encompasses the integration of SCPC’s substation network with a new fiber-based smart grid technology backbone. This enhancement will empower the cooperative with improved power delivery efficiency monitoring capabilities. Additionally, it will facilitate swifter identification and resolution of grid issues, leading to faster restoration times in the event of outages.

Financial support for the project came in the form of grants awarded through BroadbandOhio, a state-sponsored program dedicated to expanding broadband access. SCPC received a total of $98,041,000 in grant funding. This allocation supported projects in southwestern Ohio counties like Adams, Brown, Clermont, Fayette, Highland, Ross, Pike, and Scioto. Eastern Ohio counties including Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe, and Noble also benefited from grant funding totaling $68,043,000.

Residents in targeted communities may have already observed crews constructing the necessary infrastructure, as connectSCP’s fiber optic network follows the existing power grid layout.

“Our unwavering goal is to ensure that every member-owner we serve has access to high-speed internet, regardless of whether it’s provided by connectSCP or another provider,” remarked Rick Lemonds, President and CEO of South Central Power. “We’re committed to actively participating in the solution to bridging the digital divide within the rural communities we serve with electricity.”

Tom Musick, SCPC’s Vice President of Engineering and Broadband, and head of the connectSCP division, elaborated on the project’s transformative impact. “With the completion of the New Market Township and Somerton phases, we’re poised to activate the fiber internet network, offering symmetrical speeds, robust whole-home Wi-Fi coverage, exceptional reliability, and truly future-proof capacity,” Musick stated. “This will be a game-changer for these previously unserved and underserved communities. It will foster opportunities for attracting remote workers, empower telehealth services and online education initiatives, stimulate overall economic development, and allow families to fully enjoy the benefits of streaming, online gaming, and seamless communication from the comfort of their homes.”