Southern Ohio Communication Services, Inc., in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) and Pike County Economic & Community Development, Tuesday announced plans to invest $3.8 million to provide 1 gig optical fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) high-speed Internet service over 64 miles to 1,300 residential and business customers in southern Ohio. 
 
Company officials indicated the investment represents the first phase of a two-phase approach to providing expanded optical fiber-to-home high-speed internet service within its rural footprint in Pike and Scioto counties.

In the second phase of the project, Southern Ohio Communication Services will make an additional investment that will result in optical fiber-to-home high-speed Internet service to residents and businesses in southern Ohio. The current project will result in the creation of at least five new jobs and construction of a new warehouse to store equipment.
 
“We are excited to bring gigabit-speed internet to the homes and businesses in southern Ohio,” said Gary Cooper, President of Southern Ohio Communications. “The availability of fiber to the premises internet will improve the quality of life in rural areas. Connecting homes and businesses to the world-wide web increases access to healthcare, education, business and employment opportunities, gaming, social media and entertainment in the beautiful hills of southern Ohio.”
 
A last-mile Internet service provider offers the network connections that link end-users to the wider Internet. The last mile refers to the final leg of the telecommunications networks that delivery services to customers. FTTH offers gigabit speeds that are considerably faster than a typical cable modem or DSL connection.
 
“The proven economic benefits provided by fiber to the premises include increased property values, by attracting businesses and people to locate and reside in the area,” Cooper said.
 
Southern Ohio Communications Service received a $50,000 JobsOhio Inclusion Grant toward building and engineering costs. The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant provides financial support for eligible projects in designated distressed communities or businesses owned by underrepresented populations across Ohio.
 
“Along with JobsOhio, we commend and are supportive of this investment by Southern Ohio Communication Services, Inc. to expand high-speed internet access to a broader area of southern Ohio,” said Mike Jacoby, President of OhioSE. “This investment is a step forward in improving internet connectivity in southern Ohio that will give folks the ability to work remotely and improve the quality of life in our region.”
 
“Pike County Community and Economic Development, along with the Pike County Commissioners, fully support the expansion of Southern Ohio Communications. Thank you to all who were involved in the project,” said Pike County Community and Economic Development Director, Gary Arnett.

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio though Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, One Columbus, REDI Cincinnati, Regional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at www.jobsohio.com. Follow JobsOhio on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is the JobsOhio Network Partner for southern, eastern, and southeastern Ohio, providing economic development work and resources in 25 rural counties; they are the newest and geographically the largest of the six regions across the state. OhioSE partners closely with regional development districts, local economic development offices, state agencies and other entities to expand, retain and attract businesses in the counties they serve. Learn more at OhioSE.com.