Broadband Accessibility Act Moves Forward
(April 13, 2017 – Centerville, Tennessee) – As the Broadband Accessibility Act awaits Governor Haslam’s signature, Meriwether Lewis and other Tennessee electric cooperatives are evaluating what it means for them going forward. The Act removes restrictions that currently prevent electric cooperatives from providing retail internet services.
“MLEC is excited about the broadband opportunities made possible for our rural communities with this legislation. It is new territory for us, and we want to make sure we move forward in a way that is best for our members and the co-op without sacrificing the reliability and cost of electric service,” says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. “We are working with a third-party consultant who has experience in helping other electric cooperatives evaluate broadband services. They will survey our members to gauge interest, options and needs. The results will help guide MLEC’s management team and board in deciding how we should proceed.”
MLEC could partner with local internet providers, take a more direct approach or bring something else to the table. In any scenario, it will be an expensive, time consuming project that will not be entered into lightly. Should MLEC decide to build its own network, financing, design and construction could take months or years to complete. The project is estimated at around $100 million.
Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative, your trusted source for safe, low-cost, reliable electricity, is non-profit and member owned, providing more than energy to the over 33,500 members we serve in Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lewis and Perry counties.###