In 1936, Cullman Electric was the first co-op in the state of Alabama to “energize” its electric lines. Today, it serves about 44,000 member-owners in the north central part of the state.
The first phase of the co-op’s project will extend the Sprout Fiber Internet network to 12,000 of those members, making gigabit Internet access available to both residents and businesses. Community members are looking forward to faster broadband speeds, while state and local officials hope the new network will boost the region’s economy.
“This is going to be a game changer,” State Representative Randall Shedd said at the announcement. “When rural Alabama has high speed Internet, then rural Alabama will be able to do work in rural Alabama.”
Connecting the Grid and Their Members
The electric co-op’s decision to invest in a Fiber-to-the-Home network was influenced in part by a petition organized by Baileyville residents dissatisfied with the poor broadband options available in the area.
Additionally, Cullman Electric was interested in developing a fiber network to connect its substations and better manage its electric grid. “It will cut down outage response times significantly and lay the foundation for us to take advantage of cutting-edge technology in the future,” shared CEO Tim Culpepper.
In a Facebook Live video of the announcement, Cullman Electric also noted the importance of a recent state law clarifying that electric cooperatives can use their existing easements to deploy broadband.
The co-op will build the Sprout Fiber Internet network in phases. It...Read more