Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative continues to evaluate the opportunity of offering broadband to its members in five counties. Our August/September 2017 broadband survey, which received approximately 2000 responses, helped guide our decision to conduct a feasibility study in early 2018.
“I can understand why some think we’re moving slowly, but we have to be confident in our decision," says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. "The reliability, service, technology and price have to be quality, or we aren’t helping anyone. We would rather move forward cautiously than put our reputation on the line for a product that is below standard. The feasibility study will give us more information about these factors before we make a decision about whether or not to offer broadband.”
When the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act was passed in 2017, MLEC members began asking “when” and “how much.” However, as written, legislation prohibits electric cooperative revenue from funding the venture. Therefore, either a subsidiary will have to be created or MLEC will have to partner with someone else.
There are certainly challenges related to broadband in rural areas and much to consider. MLEC is committed to doing our homework and making a decision that is in the best interest of our members and the cooperative as a whole.