CAEC holds broadband Q&A

Published 2:01 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative recently held a question and answer session in Verbena about a broadband survey it is conducting.

Similar meetings were held in Titus and Prattville.

The survey is being used to gauge interest in high speed internet in areas served by the cooperative.

“Expressed needs in the community meetings ranged from home security systems and online schooling to working from home and streaming church services,” according to a CAEC press release.

“We know that high speed internet is a necessity in today’s world, but hearing first-hand accounts of personal stories from the members helped to bring into perspective the reality of people’s frustration level with their lack of connectivity,” CAEC President and CEO Tom Stackhouse stated in the release.

Offering internet as an additional CAEC service is being explored as the cooperative looks to connect each of its offices with high speed internet cable.

In a recent Clanton City Council meeting, Connie Bainbridge of CAEC said this project made it a good time to consider adding broadband internet to the cooperative’s offerings.

She said the survey being conducted is very similar to how CAEC established to bring electricity to rural areas in the 1930s. Back then, a fee was asked of each of those who expressed interest until a final decision was made.

Today, each person participating in the survey is being asked to pay $25, which will be refunded if the program does not become a reality. If the program does move forward, it will be the connection fee.

“There are people who have said they need choices, higher speeds and more accessibility,” Bainbridge said.

She compared the need for high speed internet in rural areas to the need for electricity back in the 30s.

“A project of this magnitude is expensive, but other cooperatives have been successful. Although federal and state grants are being explored, the business model will be built on a self-funded basis, and the business would be self-supported. Any grants received, however, would help ease the overall investment,” according to the CAEC release.

While the area closest to the fiber network established for the CAEC offices would be the first to be reached with such a service, opportunities for expansion do exist.

“There are no territorial laws with broadband, so we can go outside our territory,” Bainbridge said.

The survey can be viewed at