A rural telephone cooperative in western Iowa will begin work soon on upgrades to its broadband capabilities. The Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association in the Guthrie County town of Menlo recently landed a $6.5 million loan for the project from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Association general manager Jim Nelson says access to high-speed internet is increasingly important for the cooperative’s 700 members. “A lot of our customers anymore, they also work from home, and they need that band width to operate,” Nelson said.
The USDA financing will help the Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association to lay more than 200 miles of fiber lines. “The way we’re providing services today, the old copper lines, is not adequate, and we’re just looking at all new fiber optic to every customer we have,” Nelson said.
Construction on the fiber-optic network is slated to begin in August or September with completion in early 2019.
Reporting by Rob Dillard, Iowa Public Radio