Why Nex-Tech Connected 100% of Cooperative Communities to 100% Fiber

February 28, 2024

We recently connected all towns within our cooperative footprint to fiber technology. Indeed, we have come a long way since 1996 when we deployed the first fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Hill City (KS) becoming the first in the nation to do so. Today, we currently serve scores of communities with FTTH spread over 6,000 square miles – that’s about half the size of the nation of Belgium!

For many years, we have worked intentionally to reach this milestone. Our efforts were aided by funds we were awarded from amongst others, the Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Enhanced ACAM). Today the project is complete and residents from Hill City to WaKeeney, Norton to Philipsburg, Quinter to Oberlin, Hoxie to Stockton, Russell to Moundridge, and more across northwest Kansas can access the very best of high-speed broadband via fiber to the home.

But what is the significance of this milestone? Why is it essential for rural areas in America to have access to fiber today?

  1. Ubiquitous service offerings for all communities.
  2. More opportunities to expand our coverage to more unserved communities in our region.
  3. Fiber makes for faster speeds and reliable connectivity. Residents and businesses in rural areas will benefit from significantly improved Internet speeds, enabling seamless streaming, online education, remote work, and more. Nex-Tech is committed to delivering a dependable high-speed Internet connection, eliminating the frustrations associated with slow or unreliable service.
  4. Positive Economic Impact: As a cooperative, our purpose is to serve our communities. By connecting all communities we are maintaining our habit of community support, stimulating economic growth, promoting educational opportunities, and enhancing the overall quality of life in these rural communities. Studies have also shown that every 1% increase in broadband penetration can result in a 1.2-1.5% increase in GDP.

Fiber is the Future 
Among other reasons, fiber is the most current technology available, and it is ‘future proof’. Fiber technology can support the enormous demands for instantaneous connectivity that rural communities and institutions will need in the coming decades. Unlike copper or wireless technology, fiber can be scaled and can transport very large amounts of audio, visual, and multimedia information across very large distances at the speed of light. Rural communities have long endured limited internet service affected by the weather, hills, or other natural landmarks like trees, etc. But when companies build networks with fiber, they overcome all of these challenges.

Notably, fiber can raise the value of rural homes. In the case of northwest Kansas, this is a win-win for those looking to sell and those buying a house in any Nex-Tech cooperative community. Sellers will get more value from their properties and buyers will get homes already connected with a state-of-the-art fiber network.

Fiber holds huge long-term potential for rural areas in America, and Nex-Tech will continue to build fiber networks across rural Kansas. In the words of rural broadband commentator, John Green, “Do we need fiber to every home today; possibly not?  But what about next year, five years from now, or in the year 2050? Because we are not building Broadband networks for the next 3 to 5 years but for 20 years, 30 years, or even longer.  Let’s get it right the first time.”

Learn more about the ways fiber technology transforms life.

Friday Otuya

Connect with Friday

Friday Otuya
Community Engagement Specialist

Friday Otuya /əoTU:ya:/ drives our multifaceted community economic development efforts and is the Nex-Tech contact for all our loan and grant programs. His vision is to position Nex-Tech as the community economic development partner of choice in Kansas for federal, state, and local stakeholders.  He lives with his wife and son in Hays, KS.

Weekdays: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.