Building a connected, small-town life

Bob Martin considers innovations in communications technologies, such as broadband Internet, essential to his town’s economic future.

Bob Martin considers innovations in communications technologies, such as broadband Internet, essential to his town’s economic future.

Bob Martin returned to Eastern Kentucky in 1973 after a stint with the U.S. Marine Corps, including postings in Southeast Asia. “I was ready to move to a rural area, and I was ready to get my young self back down here,” he says.

He loved the community, but connecting with family in larger cities was not always easy. Rural communications in the ‘70s sometimes struggled to keep pace.

Now, however, he is wired with the latest technology. In December 2014, he embraced Mountain’s services: a 50 Mbps broadband connection, the complete television bundle and a landline phone.

Retired from a teaching career, he works as an accounts management officer for Commercial Bank in West Liberty.

Thanks to the fiber upgrade, he can now connect remotely to the bank’s system, allowing him to work from home when bad weather makes travel difficult.

Also, Martin says he prefers trading with local businesses, rather than big, national corporations. “When I spend my money and pay my bill, it stays here in Morgan County,” he says.

A rural, connected life
Martin, who lives about 17 miles outside West Liberty, says the service from Mountain compares favorably to the connections his relatives receive in larger cities. “We can converse and do things on the computer that we couldn’t have done a year and a half ago,” he says.

And, he believes the connectivity provides a necessary economic boost. “If you want businesses to come, and you want your community to grow, you’re going to have to have technology and data,” he says. “You have to be able to download information, upload information and do it quick.”

A career of learning, and helping

Martin was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, but his family moved to Michigan when he was 6 years old. Summers with his grandparents kept him tied to the Bluegrass State.

Once he returned to Kentucky, he tried farming. Then, he pursued vocational degrees in welding. He taught high school- and college-level welding for 22 years, and he was a vocational school principal for eight years.