Affordable & Reliable Internet to Rural Communities

In November 2018, my wife and I made the decision to sell out home. The first question from people who we showed our home to was, “do you have internet?”; “how fast is your internet?”; “who is your internet provider?” While many people may think these are silly questions to ask in the 21st century, they aren’t. Fortunately for me and my wife, we sold our home in July 2019, to a young couple who asked those very same questions and now have the option of having Comcast as their highspeed internet provider.

September 2019, we officially broke ground on building our new home and are anticipating moving in April 2020. However, before building our home and still searching for property, I can remember only being concerned with how many acres we can afford and how close is our closest neighbor? After we found the perfect location to build our home, off from the main highway, we started to ask questions such as, who is going to be out internet service provider (ISP)? Is internet even available? Is cable TV even available?

We quickly learned that cable TV wasn’t available in the area we wanted to build, and the best ISP is Windstream who boast internet speeds upwards to 3 mbps. WOW! We checked with Comcast to see what options they could provide for internet and cable service, after all we were their customer for close to 10 years, that should account for something, right? Wrong! Comcast quoted us $9,000 to $10,000 to dig a trench and run a cable a half a mile from the source to our home; and without any hesitation we said no thank you and then our quest to find a reliable but also economical ISP began.

We researched HughedNet, Atlantic Broadband, Fios from Verizon and even upgrading our 2 Gb shared Verizon data plan to an unlimited data plan which ultimately, we would use our cellphone as hotspot for our internet. While each option may have their own niche, no option really made much cents (pun intended) to us. The options were far too expensive and offered very little data in return, so my wife and I were still in search for an ISP.

March 2019, I had an opportunity to travel to North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission for a meeting and it was a this meeting I first met Ed Matts and learned firsthand what he and North Central are trying to do in providing affordable and reliable internet to rural communities.

After the meeting, I introduced myself to Ed to let him know that I was very interested in learning whether our new property was suited for the type of internet service North Central has to offer. The time it took for Ed to come to our new property to when he determined our property worked well was very minimal. In fact, the process started in August 2019 (before groundbreaking), and as of January 2020, we now have internet download speed of 10 mbps and upload speeds of 13 mbps which is reliable and made a lot of cents to us.

If it wasn’t for the meeting where I met Ed, I believe my wife and I would have had to settle for expensive-subpar internet. I would love to see more rural Pennsylvania citizens helped by the services provided by North Central. The only way to do this is to get information about North central out to the community and the internet service they offer. I truly believe if more people knew about the service, it could potentially bring more people and businesses to the area. People are unknowingly paying higher prices for internet service with very little in return or may be overlooked all together by the mega companies who do not view rural communities as worthy of their investment. North Central has proven internet can be provided to rural communities with little upfront comsumer expense and for this my wife and I are greatly appreciative.

Zack and Erin Ankeny