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CAEC fiber network construction set

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Central Alabama Electric Cooperative has announced its broadband subsidiary will be called Central Access.

The company has selected FiberRise to construct Phase 1 of its fiber broadband network, which will connect the co-op’s 24 substations and six offices, including one in Clanton, and be expanded to offer service to both residential and commercial customers.

According to the CAEC website, Phase 1 of construction will include a 4,000 feet area around each of the six offices.

“Our members have made it overwhelmingly clear that they are in need of affordable and reliable broadband,” said Tom Stackhouse, CEO of CAEC in a June 26 press release. “As CAEC builds out the fiber infrastructure needed to communicate with our offices and other assets, we have a great opportunity to bring this life-changing service to all of our members, and we believe that this service meets an essential need for our communities and will ensure a brighter future for the lives of every member we serve … As we looked for a partner to provide expertise, we selected FiberRise because they represent many of our core principles of service and trust, combined with a history of success.”

FiberRise has done similar work for other electric cooperatives in rural Alabama.

“We are excited to serve CAEC as they bring the industry’s most advanced fiber solutions to their communities,” Tommy Harmon, CEO of FiberRise said in a June 26 press release. “The impact of this fiber broadband network is not only immediate but long-lasting. Fiber has unlimited capacity and has a proven record of positively changing communities with enormous new opportunities for healthcare, education and business development.”

Construction of Phase 1 of the fiber network is expected to begin summer 2019.

Those interested in the service can pre-register at caecaccess.com for $25. This site also allows residents and businesses to see if their location is within the Phase 1 radius.

“We need to reach the goal of a 35% take rate from those within this first phase in order to move forward. This will be a multi-year project, but taking this first step right now gets us closer to providing broadband to those members who no one has been willing to serve,” according to the CAEC website.

The cost for residential services has been estimated at $59.99 per month. Speeds will exceed the Federal Communications Commission “definition of broadband, which is 25 Mbps downstream/3Mbps upstream,” according to the CAEC website.

The expected average will be up to 200 mbps up and down. However, the system will be capable of offering up to 1 gigabyte per second for a higher per month cost.

According to the CAEC website, even those who are customers of another power company may be able to get internet service through Central Access if they are close enough to the fiber network.

More information is available at caec.coop/broadband-project.