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Board Approves Fiber Project

3:08PM May 11, 2017

During a special board meeting of the Board of Directors of SEMO Electric Cooperative, Inc., on March 22, 2017, the board conducted a final review of the fiber to the home feasibility study and held a discussion regarding fiber construction. Then, the board unanimously voted to move forward with phase one of the fiber plan.

By connecting substations and offices with fiber-optic cable, the Cooperative will create an intelligent grid that will provide it with more down line automation capabilities, ultimately increasing the reliability of electric service to members. Also, this endeavor falls in line with the Cooperative’s purpose - “powering communities and empowering members.”

Broadband is the electricity of the 1930s and 1940s. Remember, in 1930, fewer than 10% of farms had access to electricity. In 2016, 53% of Americans lack access to broadband. Much like the Cooperative did with electricity in 1938, the Cooperative is going to provide real, affordable broadband to southeast Missouri.

Since the Cooperative serves more than 2,600 miles of line, this will take some time. The entire build out will take several years. The approved plan is to begin with a portion of the territory and build out from there. Only the first phase was approved by the board.

While the Cooperative is not ready to announce its first build location, it anticipates starting with substations in Advance, Bloomfield and Miner. A number of factors are considered to help decide the build-out order. Those factors include density, total cost, cost per home or business passed, number of potential subscribers, cooperative communication needs, office locations and revenue projections. The Cooperative will evaluate the success of each phase as the business moves forward. The Cooperative asks members to be patient as it works on fiber design for route maps, infrastructure make-ready needs, splicing diagrams and construction schedules.

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