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Founded in Chillicothe in 1895, Horizon Telcom is funding 30 percent of the $94.9 million Connecting Appalachia project, which will close gaps in broadband Internet connectivity in 34 rural Ohio counties. The National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration (NTIA) will fund 70 percent of the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) stimulus grant project.

Experience
Horizon’s 115-year history as a partner in the communities it serves and its reputation for excellent customer service and responsiveness has cemented its role as a regional telecommunications and community anchor. Horizon has grown with the changing needs of today’s business and residential customers since its founding in 1895 as the Home Telephone Company. Horizon currently offers its customers reliable phone, digital cable TV, high-speed Internet, and home and business security and monitoring as well as bundled packages.

Innovation
Horizon was among the first telecommunications companies in the state to offer cable television and Internet service and has built fiber-optic networks since the mid-1980s. Horizon has already installed nearly 1,140 miles of fiber-optic cable in Athens, Highland, Jackson, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton counties for the Southern Ohio Health Care Network (SOHCN). This project will expand access to world-class health care using broadband medical tools, improve health outcomes for both acute and chronic conditions, lower costs for treatment, and provide professional development for rural health care providers.

Leadership
Why is Horizon right for the Connecting Appalachia project? Horizon is the only regional Ohio-based telecommunications company ready and able to commit its resources to expand its broadband network from the original 700-square mile service area to the 34 counties throughout southern and eastern Ohio. Horizon’s commitment to superior customer service and its role as a community partner expands with each mile of fiber-optic cable installed.


 

Horizon President and CEO Bill McKell is the sixth generation of his family to lead this 115-year-old company into its future as a household name. McKell’s pride and sense of responsibility to the family tradition of community service shines through.

“When I look at the legacy, I feel very proud," he says. "It’s a tradition of civic mindedness, philanthropy, taking care of employees and an emphasis on education that makes me proud to be a McKell. It’s what makes this company unique among the corporate telecom companies.”

The CA project will bring Horizon Telcom to 34 counties in Ohio—a giant leap forward for a company, yet in keeping with traditions of competition and innovation. What does McKell say his great-grandfather, first McKell president Joseph Scott McKell (pictured), would have thought?

“I don’t think he could have conceived it, but I don’t think he would be surprised by the innovative nature of the move," McKell says. "Perhaps he would have said, 'The business landscape changed and you adapted. That’s part of this company’s DNA: innovation. And if you get knocked down, you get back up and innovate some more.' If the McKells had sat on their laurels when telephone service was the only product offered, we wouldn’t be here today.”

 

ConnectingAppalachia.org - (740) 722 8288 - info@connectingappalachia.org