Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2013

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 98

ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES Electric Co-ops Build FTTH Networks In rural areas that lack broadband, electric cooperatives are deploying fber to help their members. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities F ifty years after Edison and his competitors began lighting urban streets and homes, most of the U.S. countryside still lacked electric power. No one – except farmers – could imagine what farms might do with electricity or could believe that businesses other than farms might locate in rural areas. Franklin Roosevelt's Rural Electrifcation Administration changed all that, providing fnancing for local governments and nonproft organizations to deliver electricity in rural areas. Today, with nearly the entire country served by electricity, electric cooperatives still fll most of the gaps left by investor-owned utilities. More than 900 electric co-ops serve about 42 million people at 18 million premises in 47 states, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Tough some of these areas have suburbanized over the years, the great majority are still rural. A number of electric co-ops have taken on a new challenge: broadband. In areas that are as defcient in broadband infrastructure as they once were in electric infrastructure, co-op members have urged their leadership teams to remedy the situation. Without broadband, the survival of some electric co-ops is in doubt as residents and businesses move to the cities – so when co-ops cannot persuade local carriers to invest in broadband, they sometimes become the broadband providers of last resort. 18 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | Some co-ops deployed broadband over power lines, an option that made use of their existing infrastructure. However, though broadband over power line technology has been used successfully to monitor electrical equipment, it is not well suited for commercial Internet service, and many of these eforts were ultimately abandoned. In addition, a major broadband over power line vendor went out of business in early 2012. A number of electric co-ops ofer satellite Internet service through an arrangement with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative; wireless and DSL service are also ofered by some. FIBER OpTIC NETwORkS In 2002, Douglas Electric Cooperative founded Douglas Fast Net to bring advanced telecommunications to Douglas County, Ore. Douglas Fast Net serves homes with WiMAX and DSL, and it provides fber optic Internet service to businesses, schools and medical facilities – the earliest fber-to-the-premises deployment by an electric co-op that this magazine is aware of. In 2006, Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Cooperative, which also provides wireless and DSL in some parts of its territory, began building a fber-to-the-home network. It now serves more than 4,000 broadband customers in Georgia and North Carolina, providing Internet access directly and delivering voice and video over fber through retail partners. | March/april 2013

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Broadband Communities - MAR-APR 2013