Comporium, York Electric Cooperative Partner Up on Broadband

Telco and electric cooperative will deliver 1Gbps to customers in Western York and parts of Cherokee Counties in South Carolina.

  • Comporium

 

ROCK HILL, S.C. and YORK, S.C.-- Comporium and York Electric Cooperative, Inc. (YEC) have entered a partnership to extend fiber services to approximately 5,000 YEC members living in western York and parts of Cherokee Counties. Following a year of discussions, this agreement marks the latest pact between a telco and an electric cooperative to expand broadband into rural areas.

Although some of the details are still being determined, the agreement will enable Comporium to provide fiber-based internet service at speeds up to 1 Gbps in communities as far west as Smyrna and Hickory Grove.

In addition to offering customers internet service at speeds up to 1 Gbps, Comporium will also make its full suite of services available to customers living in the area included in the partnership. These services include streaming video, voice, and security and home automation.

 “We are excited to partner with Comporium to bring broadband to many who have suffered from insufficient access for several years, holding true to our promise of improving the quality of life for those living in our communities,” said Paul Basha, CEO of YEC. “After recognizing the growing need for high-speed Internet, especially during the pandemic, YEC’s Board of Directors and management team responded with a plan to help.”

“Comporium is delighted to work hand-in-hand with the staff at York Electric to extend state-of-the-art broadband service to residents of western York and parts of Cherokee County who have long been overlooked by the larger providers,” said Matthew Dosch, Comporium’s EVP and COO.

Construction is expected to take two to three years to complete, although some residents could see fiber-based internet services in their areas as soon as mid-2021.

While the pact between Comporium and YEC is new, the concept of traditional providers and electric cooperatives building out fiber-based broadband has been gaining momentum over the past year—a trend that will likely continue into 2021.

Seeking to serve their communities with broadband, this concept is being driven by other electric cooperatives, including Georgia’s Colquitt Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), Ohio’s Butler Rural Electric Cooperative (BREC) in Ohio, Mohave Electric Cooperative in Arizona and Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (WRECC) in Kentucky.

Another recent mover on this trend is Smithville, which partnered with SCI REMC. Upon completion of the project, the new joint FTTH initiative will serve approximately 3,400 residents and businesses in the common service areas around Ellettsville, Lake Monroe, and Gosport, Indiana.

Electric cooperatives have become a new savior for rural towns that have few, if any, broadband options. According to a 2019 fact sheet from the National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (NRECA), electric cooperatives could bring broadband to 6.3 million households. What’s more, an Institute for Local Self-Reliance report revealed that 90 electric cooperatives have built FTTH networks.

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