Electric Co-Op Energizes Rural America with Broadband



Miami-Cass REMC only provided electricity to members, so when they decided to expand and start a fiber network, leadership contacted Broadway Broadband, a small local company offering wireless and some fiber internet to a small area of Indiana. After many talks, Miami-Cass REMC acquired the company in 2020, and Broadway Broadband Powered By Miami-Cass REMC was born. By 2021, backed by unprecedented grant funding, Broadway Broadband was boldly expanding its fiber network to connect rural communities.


MiamiCass Rural Electric Membership Cooperative (REMC), based out of Peru, Indiana, is a not-for-profit electric utility owned by the consumer-members it serves in Miami, Cass, and part of Wabash counties. Since it was established in 1939, Miami-Cass REMC has built over 750 miles of power lines to reach over 6,000 homes, farms, and businesses. As a member-owned and led co-op, the organization makes decisions based on member votes, so when members overwhelmingly expressed concern over having no internet or a lack of reliable internet, Miami-Cass REMC knew they needed to take action if their community was going to get essential broadband services.

Broadway Broadband
About a year after acquiring Broadway Broadband, Rob Schwarz, CEO of Miami-Cass REMC & Broadway Broadband, searched for industry talent to head the company's fiber projects and entered into talks with Chandler Alwine, a veteran fiber splicer of seven years.
Alwine accepted the position of Network Manager of Broadway Broadband and brought a wealth of knowledge in fiber splicing, building, network troubleshooting, and map engineering to Broadway Broadband. 
As the company continues to grow, Alwine and the rest of the Broadway Broadband team seek to bridge the digital divide by providing affordable high-speed internet that positively impacts their community.
“It’s fulfilling to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved community members, especially the kids that need it for e-learning or homework. Some of our customers have never had reliable broadband internet anywhere besides school or work, and it’s rewarding for me and my team to get it right into their homes.” - Chandler Alwine, Network Manager, Broadway Broadband 

“As a co-op, everything we do is for the benefit of our member-customers. As we expand our network, we’re investing in our member-owners and communities by providing them with reliable internet that’s affordable.” – Rob Schwarz, CEO of Broadway Broadband
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Two years into its fiber expansion project, Broadway Broadband has reached over 1,000 subscribers, and the co-op is expected to surpass 5,000 customers by about 2025.

- projected average earnings of $4,000 per home with estimated ROI of $30,000 per mile for aerial construction

- City of Delphi, Indiana
- Cass County
Energizing Rural Communities With Broadband
Broadway Broadband is mostly expanding throughout the rural farming communities of Cass County, Miami County, and Carroll County, but the team is now open to connecting smaller rural cities that are close to the co-op’s current rural projects. The Broadway Broadband team had not considered moving within city limits anywhere until the mayor of Delphi City, located in Carroll County, reached out and asked them to service within the city limits of Delphi. They agreed to take on the Delphi City project because they only needed to compete against one established network, the grant availability, and the funding Delphi City could provide through the American Rescue Act. The Delphi City project is the network’s most ambitious project yet. Typical projects for the co-op only take a couple of months to year to finish, but Broadway Broadband anticipates the Delphi City project may not be completed until 2026. The first phase is already underway as of February 2023, and they have five phases to complete. By the time Broadway Broadband finishes the Delphi City project, Broadway Broadband expects to reach 500 miles of fiber with the possibility of adding a few more hundred of miles with a new project coming down the pipeline. At this point their projects seem to keep growing on a monthly basis and that’s not bad for a co-op with a mission to positively impact their community.
Who They Serve
Broadway Broadband primarily serves unserved and underserved rural residents, farms, and a few small businesses of Miami, Cass, Caroll, Sullivan, and part of Wabash counties, but the team expects to add more small business accounts with their Delphi City build.
Expanding Opportunities
When Broadway Broadband started expanding its services to rural counties, many co-op members and potential customers were still using satellite or dial-up services, so convincing them to convert from these legacy services was generally an easy sell. Now Broadway Broadband is setting the service benchmark in its network area by supporting customers with reliability and cost-effective pricing to reduce churn. Broadway Broadband doesn’t bundle internet and TV like their competitor, but their internet is cheaper for the same speed. Most of the time, winning a new customer comes down to educating them about the speed they actually need. Everyone thinks they need a gig, but most of the time, residential customers can use 300-500 Mbps without noticing the difference, and the Broadway Broadband team educates these consumers and helps them save money, which makes for satisfied customers.
Expanding Opportunities Cont.
Providing quick resolutions to service outages also differentiates Broadway Broadband from its competitors. The team can offer customers better service because they contracted with a local company to provide speedy service fixes. Generally, they have someone at the customer’s house within four hours. If the problem is a fiber cut, they can typically resolve it the same or the next day. This service differentiation is critical to customer retention. “We’re not that big, so we have to provide that fast turnaround service for people to keep wanting our service and to expand our service.” – Chandler Alwine, Network Manager, Broadway Broadband
Top-Notch Customer Service
By bridging the divide in rural Indiana, Broadway Broadband has improved the lives of rural residents. Before signing up for high-speed fiber with Broadway Broadband, one its first customers almost had to move from his country home back to the city to keep working remotely because he had a wireless hotspot with spotty service that made remote work nearly impossible, but still cost him a couple of hundred dollars monthly. He also dabbled in farming on the side, so he didn’t want to pack up and move to a city, but he seriously considered doing so because his wireless internet was not fast enough for his engineering job. After connecting to Broadway Broadband's high-speed internet, he got more work done and even received a promotion. Satisfied with his new fiber services, he stayed in his country home.
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Broadway Broadband already had a growing relationship with Millennium before Alwine took over purchasing. He heard good things about the partnership from co-workers, and once he started working with the Millennium team, he was impressed with their service quality and quick lead times because of local inventory.

Alwine’s goal as the new Network Manager was to develop a strategic purchasing plan to save on bulk buying of big-ticket items like conduit and fiber. And because it was easy for him to work with Millennium, Broadway Broadband now sources about 99% of its inventory from Millennium, who also conducts regular inventory checkups and shares new products that keep Broadway Broadband’s projects running on schedule. Once Broadway Broadband is ready to switch from project planning to building, they can generally switch to build mode quickly when materials are ready and sourcing materials has been a smooth step in their construction process as Millennium keeps them stocked from a local yard that offers fast restocking.


Member-led electrical co-ops like Miami-Cass REMC have a strong history of taking charge and improving the quality of life in rural America. Providing broadband service is the logical next step for many of these co-ops. For electrical co-ops looking to get into broadband services and train a new crew, Millennium has an entire ecosystem that supports network owners from planning and feasibility studies to financing, equipment leasing & rentals, material supply & logistics, and dedicated project support to the last mile.

Future-Focused Network Owners from
Coast to Coast Look to Millennium For:

  • Feasibility Studies & Network Design Plans
  • Financing & Grants
  • Project Resource
  • Management
  • Material Supply & Logistical Planning
  • Equipment Leasing & Rentals