Background of Steuben County Fiber Network
For more than 20 years, SCCF has grown and managed a community-wide dark broadband fiber network. Decades ago, community members reached out with concerns about accessing high-speed broadband internet. As a nonprofit organization that works outside of politics, these leaders identified SCCF as the best way to meet the growing connectivity needs of Steuben County. From these conversations, the Steuben County Fiber Network (formerly called iMAN) was created. Its mission was to create a premier, locally-owned fiber network. Through SCCF, the network has also returned financial resources for community grantmaking.
The SCFN has evolved significantly over time. These changes were guided by more than fifty board members, dozens of local elected officials, two trusted independent contractors, many community leaders, and three CEOs at the Steuben County Community Foundation. Today, the SCFN serves every resident in our community through high-speed connections in education, government, healthcare, and business.
Future of Broadband in Steuben County
When the community foundation realized the original mission of the fiber network had been met, we began considering the next chapter of the network. Last week, Steuben County REMC announced their plans to expand broadband in Steuben County. Part of that expansion is the purchase of the SCFN for $2.8 million dollars.
This sale allows SCCF to continue our mission of connecting people who care with needs that matter in the community. The fiber network is only a single example of how the community foundation can build bridges to meet a community need and bring ideas to life. Moving forward, proceeds from this sale will be permanently endowed in a Community Leadership Fund. This fund will complement our mission by supporting innovative ideas and fostering the development of new cross-sector community initiatives. We look forward to creating similar partnerships for our community’s benefit year after year, forever.
The Steuben County Fiber Network has been a community-led project from the beginning. SCCF would like to thank the local community leaders who shared their ideas, made connections, and have continued supporting this project as it enters a new future.
SCCF would like to thank the Lilly Endowment Inc’s GIFT VII initiative, which opened our eyes to new possibilities and provided the grant dollars that allowed us to hire top notch consultants.
Pictured in the front row is Jennifer Danic, president and CEO of the Steuben County Community Foundation, and Kevin Keiser, CEO of Steuben County REMC. In back are Randy White, SCCF board chair; John McCoy, Steuben Fiber board chair; Wayne Gingerich, REMC board president; and Gary Shough REMC board secretary-treasurer