True High-Speed Internet for the Rural Community

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1:42PM January 15, 2021

In just a little over 2 years, Jackson County REMC installed our 5,000th fiber member. On December 1, 2020, we visited the Walters family, our 5,000th install, in Washington County. Garth Walters mentioned how excited he is to be connected to fiber-optic internet since working from home has been very challenging for him. There is no doubt that our fiber is going to help him and his family.  This was and continues to be our goal when we decided to offer fiber to our membership through our Smart Grid Project.

It has been an exciting year for our fiber project, but it also been a challenging one. At the beginning of April, our installers were challenged with having to provide temporary installs due to COVID concerns. Knowing the internet is an essential service, especially during this time of working and learning from home, we had to find a way to provide fiber service to our members. Once we were advised we could return to normal installations, our installers then had to revisit and install our fiber permanently. Another challenge, that is ongoing, is ensuring we follow the CDC guidelines when our installers enter members’ homes. We want to keep our employees and our members safe and healthy.

To service all our 20,000 members, the fiber must be strung throughout our service territory which covers 10 counties. Currently, we are trying to get 15-16 miles of fiber placed each week. In the meantime, as each zone’s mainline fiber construction becomes complete, we can begin pre-drop survey visits. During this visit, our surveyors determine where the fiber devices should be placed inside and outside of the home. Once this is complete, our drop contractors run the fiber to the home. The final step, in-home installation is completed by our broadband technician. The technician activates the service and works with the member to make sure their devices are connected to the internet through our high-speed fiber-optic smart grid network. These steps do not happen in a day or even a week. The graphic below shows an ideal timeline of how long the entire process should take after you are contacted to have your pre-drop survey.

We know the wait can be frustrating, and not knowing when we will be in your area can be inconvenient, but rest assured, our entire cooperative is working hard to provide high-speed fiber-optic internet reliably, economically, and responsibly to all of our members of Jackson County REMC. We cannot wait to hit our next milestone!

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