Tombigbee Electric Power Association (TEPA) will become one of the first electric cooperatives in Mississippi to offer fast, reliable, affordable Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connectivity to all of its 43,950 residential and commercial members. Made possible through the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act of 2019 (HB 366), TEPA anticipates having coverage to all of its members, mostly in Lee and Itawamba counties, in four years. TEPA recently announced that Conexon will design and manage construction of the network.
Change in Policy = Change in Possibilities
For more than 60 years, a Mississippi law had banned electric cooperatives from offering anything but electricity to their members. After pressure from the state Public Service Commission, Mississippi’s State Legislature passed HB 366 almost unanimously. The bipartisan legislation allows electric cooperatives to provide high-speed Internet access. Approximately two dozen electric cooperatives offer electric service in Mississippi. As a result, this single policy change has the potential to benefit roughly half of the state’s population.
When Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law in January 2019, he gave electric co-ops the lion's share of the credit for getting it through the legislature:
"This is a success for the Mississippi Legislature, for all those involved. If anyone wants to know how this bill got passed so quickly talk to the rural electric associations, because we do, and we listen to them."
Wheels in Motion
TEPA will be joining three other electric...Read more