Tipton, Mo. (Aug. 15, 2014) — Tipton and Versailles city residents are one step closer to the fastest Internet in the country.
Signups for the Co-Mo Connect fiber-to-the-home communications network have begun. The network provides high-speed Internet with speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, crystal-clear telephone and reliable television service. It is a product of Co-Mo Comm, the communications subsidiary of Co-Mo Electric Cooperative.
City residents can now sign up for the service by going to co-mo.net. The contract requires subscribers to commit to just 12 months with a service valued at $39.95 a month or more. Construction and installation are expected to be complete next summer.
“Our prices are up front and honest. There are no teaser rates, and all customers have our always-fair pricing. The length of our contract’s commitment is short because we’re confident that once you’re with us, you’ll want to stay,” said Randy Klindt, Co-Mo Connect’s General Manager.
Those who sign up agree to pay a $100 installation fee, which provides a portion of the costs to run the fiber optic lines directly to subscribers’ homes. It’s that fiber-to-the-home connectivity that provides one of the service’s main advantages, Klindt said.
“Other networks talk about being ‘fiber rich.’ That just means that the fiber goes to a neighborhood and then old-school cables takes the signal the rest of the way. As soon as you switch to that old-school technology, the speed plummets,” he said. “We never switch to that old-school cable. We have that next-generation connection all the way into the home.”
The signup period during which the installation fee is just $100 runs through Oct. 31. Residents will still be able to signup after that, but the installation fee could be higher because a crew would have to be sent out specifically for that location. The only way to guarantee the $100 installation charge is to sign up by the deadline.
Internet speeds start at 5 megabits per second for $39.95 a month, before taking a big jump to 35 mbps for $49.95. The top speed is 1 gbps for $99.95 a month. All Internet speeds are symmetrical, which means the upload speed is the same as the download speed.
“No other provider can even come close to Co-Mo Connect’s upload speeds,” Klindt said.
Details on other packages, as well as TV and phone deals, can be found at co-mo.net.
Discounts are available for subscribers who choose more than one service. A $15 a month discount is available for those choosing two services. That rises to $35 a month for those choosing all three.
“The goal is to make bundling easy,” Klindt said. “No hidden fees or anything like that. Co-Mo Connect was born from Co-Mo Electric, and this is really just the cooperative way of doing business — straightforward and honest.”
Co-Mo Connect launched in December 2011 in two pilot project areas — one in the Sunrise Beach/Laurie area and one just south of Syracuse. In June 2012, the Co-Mo Connect Board of Directors voted to extend the project to the entire Co-Mo Electric service territory over the next four-plus years. Phase 1 installations are nearing completion, and Phase 2 is under way.
It was during Phase 1 that the opportunity came to extend the project beyond Co-Mo Electric’s service territory. The City of California helped pave the way for installation on city poles in space previously occupied by defunct cable companies. Installations in California are almost complete, and service is available citywide.
As the California project progressed, the opportunity to extend fiber in the cities of Tipton and Versailles emerged.
“We jumped at those opportunities,” Klindt said. “We’re creating this pocket of the most advanced communications network in the country right here in rural Missouri. It’s pretty amazing.”
Along the way, the project is spurring economic development. Co-Mo Connect now has 16 jobs ranging from customer service to highly skilled technical spots. And the contractors building the network are eating in local restaurants, filling their trucks at local gas stations and accessing local community services.
“The possibilities to use fiber-to-the-business connectivity to improve commerce and competitiveness is the next step, a step we’re already seeing as we move along with this project,” Klindt said.
Just ask Randall Power.
Power owns Grandmaster LLC, a Gravois Mills-area manufacturer of gun parts and tools for gunsmithers that has been in operation since 1959. He made the switch to Co-Mo Connect in November 2013 from a service that said it was delivering 3 megabits per second.
“That’s not what they delivered,” Power said. “It was probably half that, and that was on a good day.”
The main complaint Power had — beyond the service interruptions caused by rain clouds — was the 550-megabit limit per day.
“I pull my orders off the Internet, and that would eat up those megabytes for the day pretty fast. And then whenever the limit was reached, it slowed to dial-up speed, which would just make me scream,” he said.
Power chose the 100 mbps Co-Mo Connect package, and though he said he’s paying roughly the same as he was for the competing service, he finds much better value today.
“What’s really nice is I have unlimited downloads in a day, so that makes it much better. And if it’s raining, I don’t have to worry about not getting what I need. Our life — the way we are able to run our business — has improved dramatically since we starting receiving Co-Mo Connect.”
Andrew Renken echoes Power’s sentiments. In the six years he has been the lead attorney with the Renken Law Firm in Sunrise Beach, he was able to access high-speed Internet through a competing company.
“With (the competing company), there’d be days we’d get 3 megs and then days with a half a meg. When we updated to their business service, rarely was it ever what they were advertising their speeds would be,” Renken said.
So when Co-Mo Connect came to his business’s area, Renken jumped at the opportunity to sign up. He picked the 20 megabit-per-second package and added two phone lines and a TV package. Where once he was paying $200 a month for the slower, unreliable Internet and phone service, “Now I’m getting much-faster Internet without the outages and with speeds that are as advertised, the phone service for two lines, and I added TV service to the office, all for about $220 a month.”
An added benefit to Co-Mo Connect that Renken has been enjoying is the local customer service.
“If I had issues with (the competing company) and called their tech support number, I was getting pumped out to the Philippines or India. When I call you guys, I’m talking with local people, and they’ve been great, very responsive.”
It’s not just businesses that are benefiting from Co-Mo Connect. Amanda Borts was trying to support five kids’ educational efforts withonly dial-up Internet.
“We couldn’t really do anything with school with the Internet we had so we were taking the kids to their grandparents in New Bloomfield when they had a project to do,” Borts said.
Then Co-Mo Connect came to their home in late January. The difference she noticed was immediate. Her 13-year-old son Weston, an eighth-grader at California Middle School, had a project about World War I airplanes. Rather than making the 45-minute trek to New Bloomfield, he was able to do ther esearch at home.
“It makes things so much easier with us having that many kids in school having to do research,” she said.
The Bortses chose the Advanced Internet package for $59.95 a month, which provides 100 megabits per second of fiber-to-the-home connectivity. They also added a Co-Mo Connect TV package.
“We are only paying $20 a month more with both (services) than what we were paying for just TV,” Borts said.
Borts also complemented Co-Mo Connect’s customer service.
“It’s been excellent. I’ve dealt with several people at different businesses in the past few days where customer service has been horrible,” she said. “But when Hayley (Cleveland, Co-Mo Connect customerservice representative) called, she was just great.”
Klindt smiled when he heard these comments.
“That’s why we’re doing this, to help businesses, to help people,” he said.
People whose questions aren’t answered via co-mo.net should call (800) 781-0157.