Moving in the right direction — Broadband for the Wiregrass making strides
Eighty years ago, families in this area came together to bring electricity to the Wiregrass with the formation of a cooperative: Wiregrass Electric Cooperative (WEC). It was nothing less than a history-making moment that made our way of life possible.
Today, that cooperative is striving to bring broadband internet to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those families. We believe this is another history-changing moment when a community comes together to improve lives and build a better future for this corner of rural America.
We’re not doing this alone. We have partnered with Troy Cable to connect our substations with fiber optic cable and, where possible, connect our members to the internet. But our goal is to expand this project as far as possible and to one day bring fiber to all our members. It will take many years and a large investment in infrastructure.
WEC and Troy Cable have worked to secure funds to help expand this project. To help level the playing field of potential grant recipients, we enlisted the help of our members and our friends at Troy University to show how underserved our members are. We traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby for an equal opportunity to receive funds to build fiber for our members.
Recently, we were successful. I am proud to report that on July 24, 2019, we held an event here in Hartford where Troy Cable was awarded $575,115.31 to help expand their fiber projects. That’s great news for members looking to have access to fiber and all its life-changing possibilities. But, there’s still a long way to go. This grant will only affect those living around certain substations — in parts of Geneva and Houston counties.
Bringing fiber to the Wiregrass will be a lengthy process. For some members, fiber has already arrived. For others, it’s on the way in a year or less. For many, it is several years away. I wish a snap of my fingers could complete this project. But I can tell you WEC is working hard each day to move this project forward, and our goal is to one day make fiber available to 100% of our membership.
CEO Wiregrass Electric Cooperative