Connecting Appalachia construction begins

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Workers for Horizon Telcom, a Chillicothe-based broadband provider, have begun construction in Belmont and surrounding counties on a new $94-million fiber optic broadband network.

The project, known as Connecting Appalachia, will provide high-capacity broadband services with speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second. Crews are currently installing the new fiber that will connect businesses, governmental, educational and healthcare facilities to the new world-class network.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced in Steubenville last week in his state-of-the-state address a new $10-million program to boost the state’s broadband speeds tenfold. While the state agencies work to begin this new program, Horizon’s federally-funded network is moving steadily ahead. With network construction beginning last May, the backbone of Horizon’s project is anticipated to be completed in late spring to early summer of this year. When operational, the new fiber-based network will be available to help enhance the efforts being put forth by the state.

Federal funding for the new fiber optic broadband network connecting 34 counties throughout Ohio’s Appalachian region was awarded to Horizon in July, 2010. This $66.4 million Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) stimulus grant, awarded by the National Telecommunication Infrastructure Administration (NTIA), will fund 70 percent of the $94.9 million project, with Horizon providing the remaining 30 percent.

“Once complete, Horizon’s state-of-the-art fiber optic network will change the way that businesses work, students learn and people communicate,” said Steve Steele, Horizon vice president. “Horizon looks forward to using this network to meet the broadband needs of the regional community anchor institutions and businesses serving the communities in these counties.”

The Connecting Appalachia project is part of a comprehensive statewide public-private partnership called the Ohio Middle Mile Consortium (OMMC). The OMMC is facilitated by the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet), the technology operations arm of the University System of Ohio.

The OMMC was created to integrate three regional projects submitted by Horizon, ComNet and OneCommunity. The three BTOP projects total nearly $208 million with $141 million provided with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Once completed, the three projects will add nearly 3,660 miles of new fiber optic cable in virtually all of Ohio’s 88 counties.

More information about Horizon’s Connecting Appalachia network can be found at or at the company’s website,

With corporate offices in Chillicothe, Ohio, Horizon Telcom is a leading broadband provider of advanced data services in southern and eastern Ohio. Utilizing its extensive network of fiber optic cable, Horizon delivers advanced high speed data services, Internet, voice, digital video, security and monitoring services. Horizon’s entrepreneurial heritage and long-standing commitment to remarkable customer care ensures its devotion to connecting its customers to their worlds through the delivery of cutting-edge broadband technology and proven telecommunication systems.

For more information about Horizon, visit the company’s website at

The Ohio Middle Mile Consortium (OMMC) is a public-private partnership of broadband providers facilitated by the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) to create a collaborative and sustainable statewide broadband network. OMMC members include ComNet, Inc., OneCommunity, OARnet and Horizon. For more information about OMMC, visit