Sunrise Cooperative to work on broadband connectivity project


FREMONT – Sunrise Cooperative announced a collaboration with Microsoft, Land O’Lakes and internet service provider Watch Communications to expand broadband internet access to customer-owners and employees of the cooperative.

Watch Communications installed high-speed broadband technology at the Sunrise Cooperative Uniopolis facility, improving access to broadband connectivity throughout the area.

Not only is broadband increasingly critical to daily life, it also enables precision agriculture, increasing yields, improving productivity and boosting profits.

Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 18 million Americans do not have access to broadband, including nearly a quarter of Americans living in rural areas. Additionally, 60 percent of farmers said they lack the connectivity needed to run their business.

This effort by Sunrise, Watch Communications, Microsoft and Land O’ Lakes aims to address these gaps.

This project is part of ongoing efforts by Land O’Lakes and Microsoft to eliminate the rural broadband gap across the United States. Sunrise is part of the Land O’Lakes member network, and Watch Communications is a Microsoft Airband Initiative partner.

Through its Airband Initiative, Microsoft aims to extend broadband access to 3 million people who reside in unserved or underserved rural areas in the United States by partnering with internet service providers and others.

Similarly, Land O’Lakes and its cooperative network are helping to bridge the digital divide with awareness and advocacy through its American Connection Project.

“We work closely with our customer-owners and understand the limited resources available to them with internet connectivity,” George D. Secor, president/CEO of Sunrise Cooperative, said. “This project is a great step to bridge the gap in our rural communities. We are excited to be able to support this project that will provide a critical service and help to make a difference across the country.”

“We’re so excited to be partnering with these organizations to bring real solutions for the lack of broadband access in this community,” Teddy Bekele, chief technology officer at Land O’Lakes said. “As a farmer-owned co-op with deep roots across rural America, Land O’Lakes will continue to raise awareness and devise more ways to increase access to digital connectivity for all Americans.”

“One’s zip code should not be a barrier to accessing broadband internet, nor the opportunity it provides,” Shelley McKinley, vice president of technology and corporate responsibility at Microsoft, said. “Through partnerships like these, we can help ensure communities are not left behind and instead help them adopt new technologies and thrive in the 21st century economy.

“Bringing fast and reliable broadband internet to rural communities is the core of our mission,” Chris Daniels, president and CEO of Watch Communications, said. “Organizations like Sunrise Cooperative and Land O’Lakes are tremendous partners in this effort, and we’re excited to work with them. We appreciate their trust and look forward to bringing better internet to their members.”