South Central bringing internet to rural areas


South Central Power Company, an electric cooperative serving more than 125,000 member-owners across 24 Ohio counties, has completed construction on the first phase of its new high-speed fiber internet service network, connectSCP. The network is a wholly owned division of South Central Power and was created to provide high-speed, broadband internet to parts of 14 counties across Southwestern and Eastern Ohio.

The first phase will bring a fiber internet network to the New Market area in Highland County and parts of Adams County, with the Somerton area in Belmont County coming on line soon after. The first subscribers will be connected in early summer of this year.

The network will provide symmetrical speeds starting at 500 Mbps through fiber-to-the-home to more than 2,500 homes and businesses in and around Highland County, and will continue to seek new opportunities to grow and expand the network.

The network, in conjunction with the Highland Chamber of Commerce, celebrated the completion of the first phase with a ribbon-cutting Thursday at the cooperative’s offices near Rainsboro.

The 30-month project also involves connecting the cooperative’s substation network with the new backbone of fiber-based, smart-grid technology. That means South Central Power will benefit from an increased ability to monitor the efficiency of power delivery, pinpoint issues on the grid and restore power more quickly after outages.

The project is being enabled by grants from BroadbandOhio, a state-sponsored broadband expansion program. South Central received $29,998,000 in grant funds for projects in Southwestern Ohio counties including Adams, Brown, Clermont, Fayette, Highland, Ross, Pike and Scioto. In Eastern Ohio, the cooperative was awarded $68,043,000 in grant funds for projects in Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble counties.

The connectSCP fiber internet network construction will follow the “path of power,” and residents in the communities where the service is being constructed may have already seen the crews building the infrastructure.

“Our goal is that every member of the cooperative has access to high-speed internet, whether it’s from connectSCP or another provider,” said Rick Lemonds, president and CEO of South Central Power. “We want to be part of the solution to closing the digital divide in the rural communities we serve with power.”

Tom Musick, the co-op’s vice president of engineering and broadband, said, “With the New Market Township and Somerton area phases complete, we’ll soon be lighting up the fiber internet network to offer symmetrical speeds, whole-home Wi-Fi coupled with outstanding reliability and truly future-proof capacity.” Musick, who heads up the connectSCP division, added, “This will be a game-changer for these previously unserved and underserved communities to attract remote workers, empower telehealth services and online schooling, boost economic development overall, and for families to enjoy the best of streaming, gaming and online communications from home.”

Registration is now open for residents and businesses to indicate their interest in connectSCP internet service. Go to and then click on the “Register Interest” button to receive construction and connection updates. For more information, call 800-282-5064 and select option 2 for fiber, or use the “Contact Us” form on the South Central Power website.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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