BECKER, Miss. (WTVA) - Some customers of the Monroe County Electric Power Association (MCEPA) are expected to have high-speed internet by early 2021.
The MCEPA announced Tuesday morning it has teamed up with Conexon to launch its internet network. Conexon helps electric cooperatives install broadband networks.
MCEPA will start building the network toward the end of 2020. The first customers are expected to be connected by early 2021.
According to Conexon, the four-year build-out plan will span 1,500 miles of fiber, will serve 100 percent of MCEPA’s 10,800 customers and is expected to cost approximately $29 million.
In early 2019, Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 366 giving the state’s electric cooperatives the legal authority to offer high-speed internet service.
Read Conexon's full news release below.
Conexon, the nation’s leader in assisting electric cooperatives to deploy broadband networks, has been selected by Mississippi-based Monroe County Electric Power Association (MCEPA) to deliver comprehensive broadband management services including network design and engineering, construction management, and customer support for the association’s fiber-to-the-home network.
Monroe County EPA will begin construction on the network by 4Q 2020, with the first customers expected to be connected by early 2021. The four-year build-out will span 1,500 miles of fiber, serve 100% of the power association’s 10,800 members and is anticipated to cost in the range of $29 million.
“Monroe County EPA board of director member Tom Crook once told me about his grandfather's role in establishing Monroe County EPA, which was the first REA (now RUS) electric co-op in the country,” Conexon Partner Jonathan Chambers said. “There's a wonderful continuity with the board's decision to build a fiber-optic network. Monroe County EPA has sustained the community with electricity for over eighty years. It will now bring that same commitment to service and provide both electricity and broadband to the community for the next 80 years.
“I appreciate the trust Barry and the board have placed in Conexon. We take that trust seriously and look forward to a great success."
Monroe County EPA has formed a broadband subsidiary M-Pulse Fiber, through which members will have access to a state-of-the-art network that will deliver symmetrical gigabit internet capabiities – among the fastest and robust in the nation. The all-fiber network will also enable enhancements and smart grid capabilities to the electrical infrastructure such as improved power outage response times, better load balancing, and more efficient electricity delivery.
“We are excited about the opportunity of bringing world-class broadband services to our membership,” Barry Rowland, Monroe County EPA General Manager said. “It’s important for us to offer the best service possible for our members and that’s a goal Conexon shares. From the first meeting, we immediately felt comfortable with the depth of their experience and expertise and ability to help us successfully deliver this.”
“We congratulate Monroe County EPA for taking this bold step to deliver a fiber network with world-class broadband to its members,” Conexon Partner Randy Klindt added. “It’s very gratifying for us to team with co-ops like this one to pave the way for community and economic growth, education advantages and all of the other benefits that reliable broadband brings.”