New Law Allows Electric Co-Ops to Enter Broadband Space

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

As Mississippi ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to broadband access, four electric co-op boards are on a mission to change that, per America’s Electric Cooperatives. Since the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act took effect earlier this year, electric co-ops can now pursue retail broadband through an affiliate separate from their service as energy providers, a service they were restricted from providing before the recent law was passed.

The four co-ops, Tallahatchie Valley EPA, Prentiss County EPA, Tombigbee Electric Power Association, and Alcorn County EPA, have commissioned multiple feasibility studies for a fiber-to-the-home service. America’s Electric Cooperatives offered insight into the plans of three of the four cooperatives.  

TVEPA formed the Tallahatchie Valley Internet Services (TVI-Fiber) to ensure compliance with state law. TVI-Fiber will begin a $60 million, three-phase, 48-month buildout beginning in mid-September. 

“We are excited for the opportunity to be able to provide the services that our members so greatly desire,” said TVEPA GM/CEO Brad Robison. “We are a very rural system serving parts of the Mississippi Delta, and grant monies would be a tremendous help to the project.”

Prentiss Connect plans to begin work on its 1,050-mile smart grid in October, providing reach to 14,000 members upon completion, estimated at two years from the start date. According to Ronny Rowland, co-op general manager, the fiber buildout will cost $23.5 million.

Per Tombigbee EPA, its $95 million broadband project will roll out in four phases and cover the entire territory for its 43,350 members. “High-speed data capabilities are no longer a luxury but a necessity for the economic growth and continued viability of rural living,” said TEPA GM Bill Long. “With the recent changes in Mississippi legislation allowing co-ops to provide broadband, we view it as our role and responsibility to serve this need.”

September 6, 2019

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.