Intercounty Electric Cooperative CEO Aaron Bradshaw, left, and TRAIN board president Don Shelhammer, center, and board secretary Stuart Mitchell, look over paperwork last Thursday finalizing Intercounty's acquisition of TRAIN.

The acquisition of a locally based Internet service provider was completed last week by this area’s rural electric cooperative.

At last summer’s Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association (IECA) annual meeting, members participated in a survey about Internet services. An overwhelming need and interest was expressed by people in attendance. Since then, members have continued to express their interest in the cooperative offering an Internet option to areas where there may only be dial-up service available or high speed internet is unaffordable. With that in mind, IECA has been working with Texas County Rural Area Information Network (TRAIN) on an agreement to assume operation of services.

TRAIN, a not-for-profit corporation, was formed in 1997, to provide dial up service in the county when access to the Internet required a long distance call. Since that time, it has expanded into wireless service.

Last Thursday, Intercounty’s board of directors and TRAIN’s board of directors proceeded with the acquisition of TRAIN by InterConnect Broadband, a subsidiary of IECA.

 “While IECA recognizes the interest in expansion of TRAIN’s existing service, we ask for your patience as we work to fill a new community need — high speed, rural internet,” said Intercounty CEO Aaron Bradshaw. “It will take time to build the strong fiber backbone network that will be needed to allow the co-op to wirelessly serve the Internet needs of our local communities.”

IECA expects the focus for the remainder of 2018 to be integration, planning and strengthening while continuing to serve TRAIN’s existing customers and establishing future operating procedures. Current customers shouldn’t worry about any rate changes, but additional service options and pricing structures may be offered in the future.

“Rest assured, IECA’s interest in TRAIN is not revenue driven, but is focused on the expansion of high speed internet services to our rural communities,” Bradshaw said. “IECA wants the transition for customers to be as smooth as possible.”

As such, TRAIN’s employees have joined the IECA team.

“This both strengthens the cooperative and ensures familiar service to current customers during this transition,” Bradshaw said. “Beyond 2018, growth to new, underserved areas will likely begin. As broadband Internet becomes available in areas near you, the cooperative will announce the targeted area and make sign up available as soon as possible.  In the meantime, anyone interested in Internet being offered in their area is encouraged to contact IECA, as this will help gauge the need in various area. 

 “We appreciate your support and your patience as we work to serve areas that again may not be of interest to big, for-profit companies,” Bradshaw said. “We may be rural, but we recognize the need for high speed Internet is universal.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply