MADISON, Wis. (June 16, 2022) – Broadband service is about to get a major boost in Hollandale, Wisconsin, a rural community about 30 miles southwest of Madison.
Today, Alliant Energy and Mt. Horeb Telephone Company (MHTC) announce a new partnership to expand high-speed internet service to nearly 150 households and businesses. Once expanded, customers will have access to up to 2,000 Mbps/2,000 Mbps (2-gigabit internet service).
“We are excited about this new partnership and the value it brings to our customers,” says David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “This is an important step toward reducing the digital divide that is especially pronounced in rural areas and among financially disadvantaged customers and communities. It’s the first pilot project where we’re partnering with a local broadband provider and leveraging our combined assets to benefit the community.”
De Leon is referring to the fact that because the two entities use the same broadband transmission lines, they can combine forces. MHTC will lease excess fiber-optic strands that Alliant Energy already has underground to deliver fast, reliable internet service to the rural community.
“It’s an exciting day for our customers who will have access to speeds that include up to 2 gigabits before year-end,” says John Van Ooyen, CEO/GM, MHTC. “MHTC and Alliant Energy should be commended for their innovative partnership delivering this fiber optic solution, solving this decades-long challenge to providing a quality, reliable internet connection. We are proud to be their first partner and look forward to helping our customers.”
According to MHTC, a GIG-Certified Smart Rural Provider through the Rural Broadband Association, NTCA, many of the customers who will be positively impacted currently rely on other means to access broadband or simply go without.
MHTC expects construction to get underway in late June with local contractors and utilizing up to about 20 employees. According to MHTC, service should be available before year-end, including a gig package priced for life at $99 per month. More details at: mhtc.net/internet/.
Alliant Energy donates computers
In addition to its partnership with MHTC, Alliant Energy is also donating computers to help close the digital divide. In partnership with area businesses, including Cascade Asset Management, a provider of IT equipment retirement services since 1999, Alliant Energy is looking to breathe new life into retired computers and other technologies. Through its new TechRefresh program, the company will donate the refreshed devices to those in need.
So far this year, Alliant Energy has donated nearly 100 computers to agencies across Wisconsin and Iowa. In the Mt. Horeb area, the following organizations recently received computers: Hazel Green library, first responders, Hollandale Lending Library, Village of Hollandale and Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, Inc. (SWCAP).
Eliminating the Digital Divide
According to Alliant Energy, successfully eliminating the digital divide includes overcoming several hurdles. They include:
- Either no or insufficient broadband infrastructure to the community or the home.
- Insufficient funds to pay for internet services where infrastructure does exist.
- Insufficient funds or access to reliable devices (e.g., computers, phones, tablets, etc.) and software.
- Lack of understanding on how to use the internet, or internet-capable devices, safely and effectively.
Overcoming these barriers – and gaining access to fast, reliable internet service – is critical to customers and communities. The benefits include improved access to tele-health and tele-education, opportunities to work from home and the option to stay connected with family and friends.
“Guided by our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities, we believe our partnership with MHTC and our computer donations will make a difference,” commented de Leon. “We’ll continue to do our part to help eliminate the digital divide by exploring more partnerships that successfully make internet access affordable and available to all.”