Midwest Connections, an unregulated service of Midwest Energy Cooperative, has launched a rural broadband revolution in southwest Michigan, and is implementing an aggressive construction and activation plan for 2015 and beyond to light up the new fiber internet service, says communications director, Patty Nowlin.

Two new communications initiatives were recently introduced to promote the service and tell the story. TeamFiber.com launched in March. The website invites visitors to “Join the Crowd”, where they are taken into an interactive platform in which they can sign up for service, view the construction zones, and monitor activity through updates and comments. The 2015 build area is identified on the zone map, and member interest will largely drive subsequent construction. “We have committed to building out our entire southwest Michigan service area over the next five years, and will determine next-step construction plans based on where we have the greatest interest. Like our rural electric cooperative history, it’s a very grassroots effort,” Nowlin explains.

The grassroots theme is highlighted in Midwest’s newest tool, the Southwest Michigan Rural Broadband Revolution video. The six-minute piece, which ties together the electric cooperative history with today’s efforts to bring high-speed solutions to the rural space, is receiving a lot of positive feedback from the national broadband community. It was featured in the Baller Herbst List weekly email on April 21. Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide, P.C. is a national communications law firm based in Washington, D.C.

As of April 20, Midwest Connections had 441 active customers with nearly 300 more awaiting installation. Midwest is getting much praise like this from its members: “We spent two years with dial-up, five years with DSL and now we finally feel like we’re connected on par with the fastest internet speeds. We have an Xbox, PS4, Wii, six mobile devices and three laptop computers. We used to have to stagger usage, and now everything can run at once. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

Midwest has been leading the charge – in Michigan and nationally – to get high-speed internet service to under and unserved areas. With the new fiber communications system built across its lines, the co-op started providing high-speed internet in summer 2014.