20 YEARS SINCE THE ACT NOW! VOTE
Saturday will mark the 20-year anniversary of Spencer’s entry into the municipal communications business.
On May 6, 1997, voters in Spencer approved a referendum to establish a municipal communications utility to be owned and operated on behalf of citizens by Spencer Municipal Utilities (SMU).
“The community of Spencer is still seeing the benefits of a community owned communications utility as we continue to provide the services our customers expect to connect them to the world,” says Amanda Gloyd, marketing and community relations manager. SMU’s entry into communications has also helped keep rates affordable in our community compared to other communities without a municipal communications utility.
In early 1997, a group of Spencer citizens organized ACT Now! to promote the concept of a community-owned and operated communications utility. During the winter and spring of 1997, ACT Now! held information meetings, gathered signatures on a petition, and actively campaigned for passage of the referendum. On May 6, 1997, voters approved both questions on the ballot. About 91 percent said yes to forming a communications utility, while approximately 90 percent said yes to placing the operation of the new utility in the hands of Spencer Municipal Utilities.
After preliminary design and cost estimates were prepared, ACT Now! reactivated in the summer of 1998 to gather signatures from citizens who wanted to move forward with building the system. Over 60 percent of Spencer households signed a “Statement of Support” pledging to purchase services from SMU if the system were built. The SMU Board of Trustees gave the go-ahead to build the system in August, 1998.
Construction of the network began in July, 1999. The first cable TV customers began receiving service in the fall of 2000. Internet services were deployed in the spring of 2001, and telephone began operations in the late summer of 2001. To date, over 4,500 residences and businesses throughout Spencer and Fostoria are receiving one or more communication services from SMU.
“As we look to the future, we plan to continue offering the communication services our customers expect to keep up with the continuous technology changes,” adds Gloyd.
The public is invited to help celebrate on Tuesday, May 9th from 3:00-7:00pm with an open house featuring refreshments, giveaways, door prizes and technology demonstrations at Spencer Municipal Utilities. Some of the technology demonstrations include hosted phone demonstrations, HD versus SD programming, how to complete a speed test, The Spencer Channel 3 and more.
SMU is a leading provider of cable, internet, and telephone service in the Spencer community and has been providing water since 1886 and electric services since 1901.
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