With the turmoil in the telecom industry, particularly in rural markets, Ninestar may point to one way rural providers will adjust to the new realities. According to its website, Ninestar is only one of two U.S. entities that is a combination electric-telecommunications cooperative.
In this interview at the 2011 Broadband Properties Summit, Ninestar’s CEO Tim Hills explains how their estimate of a 20% loss in Universal Service Funding was one of the drivers for the January 2011 merger of Hancock Telecom and Central Indiana Power. The smart grid was another driver, as the fiber network of the telecom provider was complementary to the electric coop’s plan. In this interview, he talks about the opportunities this merger provides; from deploying fiber faster to deploying it on a wider-spread basis.