FTC has been recognized for its efforts in broadband by one of the nation’s leading authorities on rural telecommunications.
NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, which represents nearly 850 independent, family-owned and community-based telecommunications companies across the United States, has named FTC a Smart Connected Community provider. To receive the designation, FTC was required to show that it offers 100 megabits per second broadband to at least 50% of its service area; that it has broadband subscription rates of at least 50% and is committed to program principles of collaboration and innovation.
NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield commended FTC for the achievement.
“We are so excited to welcome another Smart Rural Community provider into this growing network of innovative broadband providers delivering the Internet’s fastest speeds in some of the most remote and rural communities of our country,” she said. “I applaud FTC for its commitment to enabling cutting-edge technologies that drive innovation and promote economic development in their region and nationwide.”
FTC Chief Executive Officer Brad Erwin was pleased with the acknowledgement by NTCA.
“While we are certainly excited to meet the criteria for this designation, we will continue on the trajectory of our current Fiber to the Home/Business buildout until we reach 100% of the cooperative territory,” said Erwin. “While this is a time consuming and costly endeavor, we exist to meet the communication demands of our members and the communities we serve, advancing connectivity to the world from right here at home.”
The cooperative is in the middle of a 5-year, $90 million fiber project that was initially expected to reach 80% of its members when complete. The decision has since been made to further expand the project so that 100% of those living or working in the cooperative’s footprint will have access to fiber and symmetrical Gigabit Internet service. A Gigabit is equal to 1,000 Mbps and symmetrical means the download and upload speeds are identical.
This fiber expansion will equip the 3,000 miles in FTC’s territory for generations to come in all facets of telecommunications and effectively “future proofs” the network, Erwin wrote in the 2021 Annual Report.
As part of the SRC application process, FTC was also recognized as a Gig-Certified provider, which is awarded to those companies that can deliver Gigabit service to either 95% of a census block or 95% of a telephone exchange. FTC has 100% fiber coverage in West Andrews and soon the North Sumter exchange – which consists primarily of the area north of the City of Sumter as well as a portion of the western side of the city — will be 100% fiber.
Other areas will soon follow as numerous crews work to make this monumental endeavor a reality.
“These are exciting times as we strive to build a network that will serve our customers growing demands for what I believe to be beyond the foreseeable future,” Erwin said. “But great things take time, so please be patient as we continue our efforts to get fiber connectivity to all.”
Founded in 1951, Farmers Telephone Cooperative, Inc. is a local, multifaceted telecommunications company headquartered in Kingstree, S.C. Serving a coverage area of 3,000 square miles, FTC provides cutting-edge technology to businesses and residents of Clarendon, lower Florence, Lee, Sumter and Williamsburg counties.
A veteran of the telephone industry, FTC has evolved into a state-of-the-art organization, offering internet, wireless, voice, security and digital TV. Customers can choose from a wide array of products and services.
About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business.