FTTH Operator NineStar Connect Acquires Gem Water Utility

  • NineStar Connect
GREENFIELD, IN — NineStar Connect, a smart utility providing water, sewer, electric and high speed fiber services, completed its acquisition of Gem Water Utility from the Town of Cumberland, Indiana. The acquisition enables the utility co-op to invest further in the infrastructure needed to position the Mt. Comfort Corridor for expected growth.

As part of the acquisition, NineStar Connect has committed to building high-speed fiber to each home and business located within the Gem Water Utility territory. In addition, NineStar’s Central Indiana Communications (CICI), a for-profit communications subsidiary, plans to build a fiber optic network connecting Cumberland’s municipal facilities, including the town hall, parks and trails.

Expanding Regional Fiber Infrastructure
“The Mt. Comfort Corridor is one of the state’s bright spots of economic growth and activity,” said Michael Burrow, president & CEO of NineStar Connect. “Making Gem Water Utility part of the NineStar family enables us to expand our high speed fiber and utility infrastructure, which is essential to the area’s ability to attract and retain this growth.”

NineStar has a strong history of promoting and enabling economic development in Hancock County and the surrounding areas. Earlier this month, NineStar was a supporter of the Urban Land Institute’s effort to assess future planned economic development opportunities associated with the Mt. Comfort Corridor.

Gem Utilities serves approximately 500 water customers in a territory that lies between Cumberland’s eastern boundary and NineStar’s current water service territory around Philadelphia in western Hancock County.

Supporting Economic Development
According to Cumberland Town Manager April Fisher, the benefits of the sale go beyond the simple transfer of a utility. “This sale is about economic development and the establishment of a community partnership between the Town of Cumberland and NineStar,” said Fisher. “Cumberland will use the proceeds from the sale to expand the infrastructure of the town’s wastewater utilities, which will help encourage positive development. Additionally, the expansion of NineStar’s high-speed fiber throughout this region will result in more connectivity and opportunities for residents and businesses.”

Gem Water Utility customers now are members of the NineStar co-op. As a nonprofit co-op, NineStar Connect members elect its board of directors who make critical decisions that impact the community. Any excess money generated by utility services is allocated back to members as capital credits. Over the last 10 years, NineStar has returned more than $4.5 million in cash back to its members by retiring those capital credits.

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