Mediacom ‘levels the playing field’ with 1-gig internet service

Article by Chris Reed of KPC Media

ALBION — For rural towns such as Albion, it is easy to feel left to behind when thinking about advancing technology.

“It is a huge challenge for us here because of our big rural areas,” said Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, who chairs the Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee of the Indiana House of Representatives. “So much of the new technology ends up in the regional cities such as Fort Wayne, South Bend or Indianapolis.”

That feeling should become less common in the near future, as Mediacom representatives announced in a town hall meeting June 25 that Albion, as well as several other area towns, will be able to receive 1-gigabit-per-second home and business internet services — speeds that best anything offered in Fort Wayne and other similar-sized cities for residential use.

Albion’s current speeds cap at 200-megabits-per second.

The company, which prides itself on focusing more in smaller communities rather than larger cities, is proud to make sure that citizens of those towns have access to the technology that is becoming ever-more a need, instead of a want, in today’s world.

“A person in Albion today uses as much bandwith as a person in Boston,” said Mediacom spokesperson Phyllis Peters.

Because of this, the company — which services 20 counties in northern Indiana — invested approximately $1 billion in evolving its services, which will use most of the infrastructure that is already in place to achieve the higher speeds.

The new system was described by Peters using an analogy of driving down a back country road and being slowed down by a slow-moving vehicle such as a tractor. Instead of being stuck behind the tractor, the new system will take that one-lane road and expand it into a 16-lane digital Autoban.

Practically, there will be more “lanes” for data to travel through, and it makes those lanes as fast as possible to achieve the highest speeds.

The news brought a renewed excitement of the possibilities that the change could have for the Albion community.

“One thing that I have heard quite a bit about since taking office is that businesses have had a hard time attracting workers, so there is a clear workforce issue that we have been working diligently to try and fix,” Ober said. “Having technology like this, with it being kind of a quality of life issue now, should help to address that problem. I am hopeful that this means really good things for these communities.”

Ober — who himself said that the quality of internet access was a major factor in choosing where to live — mentioned that he has heard similar sentiments from those around him.

“People have a laundry list of items that are important to them in deciding where to plant their roots. Typically you would think that would be real estate location, schools, or how close it is to a job but what I’m hearing now is what ammenaties are in the community.

“I’m hopeful that we can make the quality of high speed internet a similar attraction to parks, access to childcare and other ammenities that people are loking for,” Ober said.

The service, which Peters said is availavle to customers today, comes with a $139.95 per month tag. Mediacom also offers speeds of 60, 200 and 500-megabits-per-second.

The company provides a modem to utilize the 1-gigabit service, but residents will need to purchase a wireless router that is compatible with the high speeds to use home Wi-Fi.