CAEC to offer broadband internet to customers

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, November 13, 2018

By J.R. Tidwell / Editor

Over the last two years, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative has been researching the feasibility of offering high-speed broadband internet to the communities it serves.

CAEC has been hosting an online survey for residents in Chilton County and other areas asking if they are satisfied with their current internet options and if they would be interested in using a broadband service provided by CAEC, if the company decided to make that available.

A question and answer session was also held in Verbena to help gauge interest in the potential service.

According to Julie Young, vice president of business and administrative services for Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, the hope is to benefit people that live in more rural areas that do not have the option for broadband.

According to a press release, the Board of Trustees for CAEC approved moving forward with the first phase of its new broadband project.

“We have listened to our members who so desperately need this service, received very helpful feedback from our employees, talked with experts in the field as well as the electric cooperatives already deploying internet service,” said Tom Stackhouse, CAEC president and CEO, in the release. “After nearly two years of study, we feel there is a viable opportunity to provide an internet service through a fiber optic network within our service area.”

According to the release, “Phase I involves creating a subsidiary, wholly owned by CAEC, and moving forward with the build-out of a 365-mile fiber optic cable system to connect the cooperative’s 24 substations and six offices, allowing them to provide even more efficient electric service to their membership and a more secure fiber network to its facilities, according to the release. The first phase of installation is planned to begin no later than June 2019 and will also include additional fiber to serve beyond the co-op’s needs, offering broadband service to area communities. Phase I of this project includes working toward serving those members in the 4,000 ft. area around the 365-mile core ring, which includes nearly 10,000 homes and businesses.

“CAEC says that with an initial goal of a 35 percent take rate from those within this Phase I area, it can then make plans to move forward with a second phase. Once the service is available to subscribers, the initial monthly cost estimate for residential internet service will be $59.99 for up to 200 mbps up and down (no data caps).”

“This will be a multi-year project, but the steps we are taking today put us closer to serving the most rural parts of our system at some point in the future, rather than not at all,” said Stackhouse. “This is an historic endeavor that has the possibility of helping to provide our communities with a service they need, much like was done 80 years ago when this electric cooperative was formed.”

In Alabama more than 842,000 people do not have access to wired connection of 25 mbps download speeds, according to the Office of the Gov. Kay Ivey.

Ivey signed the Alabama Broadcast Accessibility Act on March 28.

CAEC will provide updates on the project on its Facebook page. Some frequently asked questions and answers can also be found at or Interested parties may also type in their address to confirm whether or not CAEC’s service will be available at

People can pre-register for service for $25. Those who paid to take the survey can pre-register for no additional charge.

Sarah Graham contributed to this article.