For many of us, it’s hard to imagine not being able to quickly access resources on the internet, many of which we depend on every day. But, that’s a reality for many Tri-State residents.
A lack of high-speed internet is not just an inconvenience, it impacts business. That’s why several northeast Missouri communities have made internet expansion a top priority.
“We are all 100% dependent on the internet services, because most of what we do is all computer driven today,” said Jeff Albus, Senior Vice President of HNB Bank in Perry Missouri, said because of that, slow internet means their customers end up waiting too, “most days when we have slow downs on our internet service, many of us are simply sitting here looking at a spinning wheel on our screen.”
Which is why they worked with the city of Perry to approach Ralls County Electric about expanding their fiber network into the city.
“We thought it was important that we helped push to get fiber-optic into the city of Perry,” said Albus.
At Ralls County Electric Co-op officials said they’ve heard similar stories from businesses in other places that don’t yet have broadband as well.
“Businesses are so dependent on it, I mean it’s their livelihood in some places,” said Lynn Hodges, manager at Ralls County Electric adding that the demand for their high-speed internet services is growing, but it isn’t just beneficial for businesses, it’s also an investment in the future of rural areas in Missouri, “these small communities are desperate for high speed internet connectivity, and broadband services allow these communities to stay connected to the outside world.”
Which is why Albus says he’s proud his business is a part of why high speed internet is coming to Perry.
“So many people are so dependent on those services just for their own farm, or small business, or personally, it’s a big deal here in the state of Missouri and it’s something that makes a difference here in the town of Perry for ourselves and our citizens,” said Albus.
Hodges said work on setting up their network in Perry will start in February, and the first customers are expected to be connected in late March.
Ralls Technologies started building their fiber network in 2009 with money from the USDA. Recent expansions to the network have been built with profits from providing service to customers.