Archive for May 28th, 2019

Taking Potter County Internet Access To Next Level

May 28th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Commissiones and the Potter County Planning Commission hosted an informational session at the Gunzburger Building on the Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) high-speed internet project– and the options to expand internet service beyond Tri-County’s footprint. Aaron Young (shown), who recently joined the team as chief technology officer for the Tri-Co Connections subsidiary, explained that the build-out will start in Potter County and eventually extend to nearly 17,000 REC members in the cooperative’s seven-county service area. A $27 million loan will supplement federal and state grants to pay for the historic $77 million project, according to Bill Gerski (left), senior vice president for business development.

Construction is underway in Potter County for the first 100-mile phase, bringing fiber optic/broadband service to 723 residential, 626 seasonal, 98 small business, and 9 large business customers. Over the next five to six years, another 3,150 miles of fiber will be constructed. Tri-County REC itself will benefit in multiple ways, including remote monitoring of its electrical network, from substations to distribution lines and individual installations; smart meters, and other capabilities.

Potter County Planning Director Will Hunt explained that the county learned through extensive public surveying related to the new comprehensive plan that expansion of broadband service is a high priority in underserved areas. “We are now taking steps to identify gaps in broadband service in and around Potter County, and to help identify potential partners and funding sources that may be able to fill the gaps for rural broadband in areas not serviced by Tri-County,” Hunt added.

His office has compiled an assessment as follows:


  • Improve the quality of life for Potter County residents by closing the gap of the “digital divide.”
  • Ability to close the gaps and provide services to residents who currently do not have access to internet service of 25mb or greater speed;
  • Funds to be allocated by the state or federal governments to support the build-out in underserved areas.


  • Identify the homes and businesses not serviced by existing internet service providers.
  • Identify potential providers to fill the service gaps.
  • Investigate partnerships and/or incentives to attract service providers.

Steps Forward

  • Create a planning committee to supervise a feasibility study for development of expanded broadband service.
  • Identify public and private partners to serve on, or advise, the committee.