In 2017 Mark McKinney had had enough. The head of the Jackson County Rural Electric Membership Corp. in southern Indiana, a co-op that provides electricity to a rural community of 20,000 members, McKinney was still living without a reliable internet connection. No internet service provider was willing to make the investment necessary to get him and his neighbors online. So, he and his board decided to do it themselves, and their wisdom in doing so became clear when the pandemic arrived. After being exposed to the virus, McKinney was able to self-quarantine at home without missing work, and his son was able to finish his spring semester at home when his university shut down. “We could not have done that without this connection,” he said.

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