Central Alabama Electric Cooperative ramps up broadband push

Published by YellowHammerNews on August 5, 2019

By Sean Ross

PRATTVILLE — High-speed broadband access is on the way to Alabamians in Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s (CAEC) primarily rural 5,000 square-mile service territory.

At a packed announcement event on Friday, the cooperative explained that it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary, named “Central Access,” to construct a 400-mile fiber optic ring that will connect CAEC’s 24 electric substations and six offices.

This is Phase 1 of a plan approved by CAEC’s board of trustees last year to expand broadband access to their customers.

Construction for this initial phase will begin on Monday and is estimated to take approximately 15 months to complete. Central Access’ first activations are expected by January 2020.

After Phase 1 is proven to be financially viable for the company, the next phase can begin. This would entail additional infrastructure being built beyond the 400-mile core so Central Access could reach even more people with broadband access.

Speeds are expected to exceed the FCC definition of broadband, starting with 200 Mbps up and down (no data caps) and up to 1Gbps. Additional options will be made available to business customers.

Alabamians in CAEC’s service area can click here to see if they fall into Phase 1 or to pre-register for service.

At the Friday event, CAEC President and CEO Tom Stackhouse and Central Access Executive Vice President Chris Montgomery were joined by members of the community and leaders in state government, including Governor Kay Ivey, to celebrate the start of Phase 1.

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