Fiber Service Suspension

Fiber Update – August 1, 2019

The economic climate has dramatically shifted since we began the fiber initiative in earnest three years ago, and costs continue to remain too high for Consolidated Cooperative to resume prior efforts to deliver fiber to members’ homes. Therefore, Consolidated Cooperative’s suspension of fiber continues to remain in effect. Please see FAQs below for more detailed information. 

However, there are some exceptions. Depending on where you are located, you may still receive service if Consolidated already has mainline residential fiber built to your zone. These active zones include Houseman, Ostrander North, Ostrander South, and Olive Green. If you’re unsure if you reside in a zone where fiber service is available, please call our Service Specialists at 800-421-5863 or visit the fiber zones map on CrowdFiber.  

What’s next? 

While it seems that nothing has really changed since we delivered our last update, there is good news to report about our effort to bring you broadband service. Your cooperative continues to explore several options. Watch for more information about broadband and other co-op matters on State of the Co-op, a new initiative where we’ll report to you, our members, twice a year via webinar and podcast.  

Join us to hear what your cooperative is doing in all its service. Our first “State of the Co-op,” with Consolidated’s president and CEO, will be broadcast later this month. In between State of the Co-op, we hope you will enjoy Consolidated Connections, a new monthly podcast series about our services and other happenings here at your co-op. It will be launching soon!   

We’re excited to add webinars and podcasting to our communication mix so that we can reach more members and deliver news and information in an effective and timely manner.  

Thank you for your interest and support, and thank you for your patience. If you need clarification on anything in this update, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. After all, Consolidated is YOUR co-op.  

Click here to request additional information on our broadband efforts.

FAQ

What’s happening? 

We have paused expanding our fiber network. Consolidated Cooperative is delaying mainline construction of its residential mainline fiber network to all members. 

Why are you doing this? 

We are re-evaluating how to best provide broadband for our members. Our original plan included continually evaluating the rapidly changing market and actual costs involved in our efforts, and there has been enough change to warrant this delay for the best interests of our members. 

Why didn’t you plan better? 

Some changes cannot be foreseen. Our plans included reasonable levels of contingencies; however, factors we could not realistically foresee drove costs outside of acceptable limits. Additionally, new funding opportunities are becoming available and to minimize the financial impact on our broadband customers we need to take time to pursue those resources. 

When is fiber construction going to resume? 

We simply don’t know currently. We will be spending considerable efforts into adapting our plans and seeking newly available funding opportunities, but until those plans are complete, we cannot provide an accurate estimate. We are just as anxious as you are! 

What can I do to help? 

Reach out to your legislators. Contact your state and federal legislators about the importance of rural broadband. Every little bit helps! It’s a cooperative effort and appropriate governmental funding will help accelerate our efforts.  

What happened to cause the delay? 

Several factors, but the biggest is increasing costs caused by global economics and the current labor market. The delays we encountered in late 2018 with the loan funds through the USDA gave us the opportunity to carefully examine our actual costs to the original plans. Global economics and local labor costs created conditions that drove our costs outside the acceptable parameters of our original plan. The solutions to those challenges are complex and will take time for us to determine how best to move forward.  

Hold up – my fiber internet is already working. Is it going to stop? 

No – if you already have working internet service from Consolidated, you will continue to have service.  

What if I’ve already made a deposit?! 

It depends on where you are located whether you will get service or receive a refund. If we already have mainline residential fiber built to your zone you will get service. Houseman, Ostrander North, Ostrander South, and Olive Green will get service; other zones will receive a refund.  

My yard is already dug up! Who’s going to restore my yard?! 

Nothing there has changed; we will. Our construction crews are accountable for maintaining your community and keeping a clean work environment. If there is any disruption to your property, Consolidated will repair it.   

I know you’ve got fiber strung in front of my house. Can you just connect it, so I can have broadband? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple; it just depends. Not all fiber is the same. Fiber is a complex network, and individual hookups like that aren’t always possible. Please contact us so we can look at your specifics.  

How can you do this? You promised us we were going to get high-speed internet – for years!  

We hear you, and we understand. Those were our expectations, but the market has changed. We’re just as disappointed as you are, and we continue to work diligently within our scope to see that broadband internet service is made available to your residence as soon as practical.  

When you start back up will the prices be advantageous as they are now or will we see an increase?

​Until our reevaluation plans are complete, we cannot provide an accurate estimate on future pricing.

With the implementation of the new farm bill and the American Broadband Initiative under Rural Development, do you see fiber optic installation occurring in the near future?

We are investigating various funding opportunities, but we implore you to reach out to your legislators. Contact your state and federal legislators about the importance of rural broadband. Every little bit helps! It’s a cooperative effort and appropriate governmental funding will help accelerate our efforts.

If you have additional questions, please call us at 800-421-5863 or email service@consolidated.coop

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A letter from the President/CEO – April 2019