PEAK Internet closes digital divide for rural customers
The way we use the internet has drastically changed as we navigate the pandemic. All areas of our lives from education to mental health, banking to the arts depend on fast, reliable internet more than ever before.
PEAK Internet recognized these new needs. More student households were distance learning than ever before, and rural counties were in need of expanded and strengthened service.
In response, PEAK found a way to deliver. They pursued and received funding through the Rural Broadband Capacity Program – Coronavirus Relief Fund. In less than 100 days, PEAK added one new wireless tower and built 30 miles of fiber distribution to rural areas.
Realizing the need for better broadband in its territory and the change in usage from its customers, PEAK applied for and was awarded a 13.5-million-dollar loan/grant with the USDA Reconnect program. After clearing environmental reviews, they are underway to construct an additional 200 miles of fiber in Polk and Linn counties.
“Funding from programs such as these is essential to close the digital divide for our rural customers. With an average density of seven homes per mile, additional capital is crucial in building a sustainable business model,” explained Rick Petersen, CEO of PEAK Internet.
Operating a carrier-grade network assures extreme reliability via their strong infrastructure, but PEAK’s secret sauce is its people. The culture at PEAK fosters commitment to on-going development, as this expansion demonstrates.
In addition to being a retail provider of broadband services, streaming TV, and voice, PEAK operates a 24/7 network operations and customer support center. PEAK serves companies throughout the United States with custom-tailored solutions that provide exceptional, white label services to their customers.
PEAK Internet began in 1986 in the Computer Science Department at Oregon State University. Today, PEAK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Consumers Power, Inc., or CPI, a member-owned electric cooperative serving 23,000 customers over a 3,500 square-mile service area in the mid-Willamette Valley.
PEAK’s affiliation with a member-owned coop (CPI) has been a win-win. Automation of the grid is essential for an electric utility and serving its members with fast and reliable broadband is becoming more important than ever. PEAK operates a hybrid broadband network using both fixed wireless and fiber to the home.
For the past 20 years, PEAK re-sold infrastructure owned by other companies. Now, they are able to focus on being a true facilities-based provider.
PEAK’s commitment to responding to the dynamic need for internet service is not new. PEAK’s first fiber-based deployments were to schools, libraries and businesses. As a strong advocate and partner in economic development, PEAK’s next project connects several enterprise anchor institutions to its fiber network.
To learn more about PEAK, visit www.peakinternet.com or stop by and visit us at the Oregon Connections Conference.