SYCAMORE - Since Sycamore Telephone Co. launched its new multi-million-dollar Fiber-to-the-Home Internet, television and telephone upgrade a few weeks ago, customers have responded positively, said Rick Ekleberry, broadband operations manager.
The company, founded in 1894, worked for two years to run fiber-optic cable to 4,200 residents, 450 businesses and 14 community institutions in Sycamore, Melmore and McCutchenville.
"Things are going really good," he said. "We have a lot of people signing up. Our Internet speeds are much, much faster and we also have TV service now.
"The upgrades are so modern, in fact, that the new Internet, telephone and television services offered in the three villages outpace those of larger cities like Upper Sandusky and Tiffin," he said.
The new services were made possible through a federal grant of more than $4.1 million awarded in 2010. The grant was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and was designed to allow community-minded telecommunication companies to provide modern tools to rural markets.
"As a small company we are able to offer the same kind of technology as the bigger companies and a lot of times we think we do a better job than they do because we're more local," Ekleberry said. "We understand the challenges of living in rural markets. We also understand the benefits of raising a family and living removed from bigger cities."
TV content is much the same as other cable TV networks and satellite TV services provide, he said.
The grant wasn't enough to provide all services to the company's entire service area, Ekleberry said.
"All customers have the ability to get improved Internet service," he said. "That $4.1 million only went so far. We did our best to hit the most populated areas that we have."
New services can be bundled or purchased separately. Customers may call (419) 927-6012 to schedule an installation update or visit www.syctelco.com for more information.