NITCO strives to be an internet provider for all, expanding out to underserved areas

NITCO strives to be an internet provider for all, expanding out to underserved areas

In today’s world, internet is not a luxury -- it’s a necessity. With many rural areas in Northwest Indiana underserved by internet providers, NITCO has turned its attention to providing fast, quality internet to meet communities’ needs.

“In this day and age, everybody needs internet service,” said Heather Zeese, NITCO’s Quality Control and Business Office Process Supervisor. “It’s no longer a luxury, it’s necessity, whether you need it for school or for work.”

The pandemic has shown everyone the importance of having a strong network connection as more people continue to work from home and complete their schooling online.

“This past year has taught us just how important having quality internet is,” Zeese said. “We do our best to reach all areas that we can, especially if an area is underserved by other providers. We realize the potential and the need, so we do our best to try and figure out what we can do to extend our services to those areas.”

NITCO currently serves 16 communities throughout Northwest Indiana and towns right outside the Region. Some are areas that larger companies have not extended their services to, leaving many people without internet service.

“Some companies don’t see the benefit of those areas since they’re rural, so it would take a long time to recoup that money back,” Zeese said. “For NITCO, we take into consideration our customers’, even our non-customers’, needs and look at those areas, and we agree that internet is a priority there.”

“I remember when we had a customer in Kouts who told us she would go door to door to get her neighbors on board and sign a petition for us to come out to their area,” she continued. “They couldn’t get anyone to come out there, so they wanted someone to listen to them and see that they needed service, they needed to have a provider who understood that.”

“We’ve expanded to Wanatah, bringing service they didn’t have before,” said Johanne Meyers, NITCO’s Customer Service Team Lead. “We’ve expanded with our fixed wireless service, which involved us putting up towers in Wanatah and other rural places where our fiber and copper lines don’t extend to.”

Whereas many larger companies will only offer fixed packages for individuals and families depending on what the company believes their needs are, NITCO works closely with customers to determine what internet service is best for them.

“Something that sets us apart from other providers is that we try to educate our customers on adequate speed,” Meyers said. “Competitors will just tell you that 1G a month is available, it’s $200 a month, and that’s what you get. But with NITCO, we will base it on what you utilize the internet for depending on your needs.”

Meyers also emphasized the importance of understanding customers’ needs on a personal level, touching on her own experience living in a rural area where most companies fail to reach.

“It helps to be from a rural area and understanding the difficulties with accessing high-speed internet,” Meyers said. “We empathize with customers, we understand where they’re coming from since we come from similar situations, and we establish a report with customers—they’re a person, not an account.”

For those looking for an internet provider to come to your area, NITCO’s website features their "contact section," where customers can go to fill out a request form, learn more about fiber and the different services NTICO provides. Visit the site at http://www.nitcofiber.com/.