A Small Telephone Cooperative in Rural Iowa Receives a Boost to Expand Broadband

Jun 9, 2017

A rural telephone cooperative in western Iowa is receiving a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help upgrade its broadband capabilities. The money will enable it to replace copper wires with fiber.

Menlo sits on the White Pole Highway in Guthrie County.
Credit Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association

The Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone Association in the Guthrie County town of Menlo is getting a $6.5 million loan from the USDA. It will use the money to lay more than 200 miles of fiber. Association general manager Jim Nelson says access to high-speed internet is increasingly important for the cooperative’s 700 members.

“A lot of our customers anymore, they also work from home, and they need that band width to operate,” he says.

Nelson the cooperative needs to modernize for the digital age.

“The way we’re providing services today, the old copper lines, is not adequate, and we’re just looking at all new fiber optic to every customer we have,” he says.

Nelson expects to see construction begin in late summer with completion of the project in early 2019.