From Connected Planet: There has been a lot of talk in the last year about the opportunity for telcos to provide connectivity to utility companies to support smart grid deployments. A small local telco and small local utility in rural Indiana have taken this opportunity seriously — so seriously that they recently merged the two companies.

The board chairmen of the two companies, Hancock Telecom and Central Indiana Power, first began kicking around the idea of merging when they realized that both companies had a need to deploy fiber in territories that largely overlapped, Mike Burrow, vice president and general counsel for the new company — now known as NineStar Connect — said.

What appealed to the telco was not only that it could neutralize a potential competitor and gain a customer, the company also would be extending service to areas not in the telco’s existing footprint, paving the way for future growth on the telco side. Read the entire article here.