Broadband in Pioneer’s Service Area FAQ
Message from our President and CEO
Pioneer believes the extension of broadband service into underserved areas of our service territory would enhance the opportunities and quality of life for our members.
To best protect and serve our members, we are encouraging deployment of broadband to underserved areas through offering access to our poles for new attachments. We are offering this at a lower-cost, temporary incentive rate to financially assist cable, phone, and other companies who may provide this service to our members. This temporary incentive rate would not result in an electric rate increase to our members. This offer is only applicable if the new attachment does not overload the existing pole.
We also are offering to complete engineering for these projects in an expedited manner. We are hopeful this, along with incentives at the state and federal government level, will result in more broadband deployment in our area.
Over the years, we have evaluated the possibility of providing this service ourselves. We determined, however, the financial investment was too great for our members and that we simply do not have the expertise in our employee group to offer this service.
There has been some discussion in our industry about the concept that electric cooperatives should permanently reduce our fees to companies who attach their telephone, cable, and fiberoptic lines to our poles. We do not believe this is proper because our electric consumers will be subsidizing these companies on a permanent basis.
In addition, there has been discussion that if a new attachment overloads a Pioneer pole and it must be replaced, that Pioneer and our members should pay for this pole replacement cost. Again, this would be a large subsidy to other companies that our members should not be responsible to pay. In these cases, the telephone, cable, or fiberoptic company should set their own poles to provide their services.
Pioneer is committed to helping encourage broadband deployment into our area as long as our members do not permanently subsidize the companies who attach their services to our poles.
Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives believes every member should have access to high speed internet, if they so desire. This service, however, should not increase electric rates for members.
Nearly every Ohio cooperative has completed a formal broadband feasibility study for their own service territory. On March 12, 2021, the Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives Board authorized the development of a temporary incentive pole attachment rate and procedures.
The Pioneer Board of Trustees adopted the incentives suggested by Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives’ Board of Trustees on November 18, 2021.