For the third consecutive year, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative’s (WEC's) Broadband for the Wiregrass partnership with Troy Cable has earned a state grant to expand high-speed internet access in the region.
In May, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Troy Cable will receive $370,389 to expand its service to 289 residences and five businesses in areas around Cottonwood, Webb, and Ardilla in Houston County. Previous state grants totaled about $2 million and resulted in broadband internet access for residents in several sections of Geneva, Houston, Coffee, and Covington counties.
The state grants supplement a $3.6 million federal grant the partnership received in January. By 2024, it is expected that about 8,000 WEC members will have high-speed internet access — many of them for the first time — because of the partnership.
“Without broadband access, people lack the capabilities to effectively work and learn from home or maximize their downtime — things that impact their quality of life,” says WEC Chief Operating Officer Brad Kimbro. “By allowing Troy Cable to access our rights of way, they are able to reach many more of our members with true high-speed internet. As our members flourish, so does the cooperative.”
The partnership began as an effort to connect all of WEC’s substations to high-speed internet, which allows the cooperative to learn of outages and respond to them more quickly. It also lets the cooperative institute future technological advances that further enhance outage response and electrical service.
As Troy Cable crews installed fiber optic cables to complete the initial project, they passed by the homes of many WEC members, providing them the chance to easily connect their homes to fiber internet service if desired. The state and federal grants allow Troy Cable to build upon this initial network.
“We’re thankful that this partnership has been fruitful and that state and federal government officials have supported our efforts,” Kimbro says. “We will continue to apply for grants until every member has the opportunity to sign up for broadband service.”
To see the progress of the Broadband for the Wiregrass project, visit our Project Information page and review the map.