Otsego Electric’s Broadband initiative wasn’t mentioned in last week’s editorial on entrepreneurism in arts organizations – it’s an electric cooperative, not a dance troupe.
Still, it’s worth a separate nod.
While local governments and the citizenry at large were crying out to Albany and Washington for universal Broadband, CEO Tim Johnson and the Hartwick-based, non-profit rural-electrification entity simply did it.
As reported last week, in the past three years, Otsego Electric has strung 700 miles of wire in the 23 towns it serves, past 5,000 locations; 2,900 subscribed to its high-speed Internet service.
It’s a non-profit, so why bother?
“We could see the handwriting on the wall,” said Johnson. “We could see … the lack of opportunities to work in rural areas. We saw the possibility that this” – Broadband – “would stabilize our customer base.”
And that’s what happened.
During the Pandemic Year, when the world moved onto Zoom, there could have been a mass exodus. There wasn’t, and there won’t be.
INTERNATIONAL NIGHT – 5 – 8 p.m. Enjoy 3-course meal from abroad. This week enjoy dinner from Brazil. Cost, $20/person. Reservation required. Take-out available. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. 607-544-2524 or visit www.otesaga.com/dining/seasonal-dining
ONEONTA – Not only did the USDA assistant secretary for Rural Development learn about Upstate declining population at her visit to Hartwick College this morning, she got a sense of the impacts.
In her opening remarks, Hartwick President Margaret L. Drugovich reported a 17 percent decline in high school graduates between 2009 and 2017, and some predictions of “another 4-8 percent in the next 15 years,” a challenge for Upstate liberal arts colleges.
“These are the kind of things on my mind when we think about economic development,” said Drugovich, economic development being one of the topic when Anne Hazlett, the USDA official charged with rural development, convened a two-hour forum of a dozen community leaders in Shineman Chapel.
Otsego Electric Cooperative CEO Tim Johnson briefs Otsego Now directors this morning on the Hartwick-based cooperative’s $3.9 million plan for a fiber-optic internet network to serve its members across the county with promised speeds of 1gbps with no data caps. The expanded service, which he anticipates being completed by the end of 2018, will cost members $59.95 per month for fast and reliable Internet service, a commodity that county residents have been requesting for many years. (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)