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Montana’s farthest-reaching phone cooperative is getting into the cloud storage business with its recent purchase of a Billings data firm.

Nemont Telephone Cooperative in December acquired Parsec Data Management, a move that sets up the Scobey-based cooperative to offer off-site data storage for the large customers like banks and eventually cloud storage for the small internet customers.

“Parsec basically helps us gain new customers with off-site data storage, or cloud-based computing,” said Leif Handran, Nemont sales and marketing manager. It’s a service big customers like banks and large retail companies are looking for.”

Nemont is the farthest-reaching Internet Service provider most people haven’t heard of. The cooperative made news several years ago when tiny Scobey, in the northern corner of the state was identified as having the fastest Internet speeds in Montana.

Over the years, the co-op has expanded into areas unserved or underserved by larger phone and Internet providers. Nemont’s reach stretches to Huntley and Absarokee, as well as northern Wyoming.

The cooperative has 22,000 phone line customers and 14,000 Internet customers.

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Parsec is a Billings company focused on securely storing “critical data,” everything from financial records to medical information.

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Agriculture and Politics Reporter

Politics and agriculture reporter for The Billings Gazette.