New Partnership to Test Models to Bring High-Speed Internet to Rural North Carolinians




  • North Arkansas Electric Cooperative
  • River Street Networks

WILKESBORO, NC — North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and RiverStreet Networks announced a partnership to enable the expansion of high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved rural communities across the state. This partnership will execute several pilot demonstration projects that could become models for providing much needed high-speed internet access.

North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives deliver electricity to 2.5 million North Carolinians, primarily in rural areas, and recognize firsthand the benefits that would be available to their consumer-members and communities with access to high-quality, high-speed internet. Likewise, RiverStreet Networks is a fiber to the home solutions provider focused on bringing connectivity to rural areas across North Carolina. This partnership will evaluate the effectiveness of leveraging existing electric cooperative investment in fiber networks to develop models and deliver broadband service to homes and businesses in several rural North Carolina communities.

Bringing Urban Tech Standards to Rural Areas
By establishing this partnership and demonstrating the feasibility of success through these pilots, electric cooperatives will facilitate their consumer-members’ participation in innovative energy solutions, like smart and connected home technologies that have become a standard in urban and suburban communities.

“From a utility standpoint, broadband technologies benefit cooperative members by allowing them to better manage their home energy use, and they will make cooperative distribution systems more dynamic, flexible and efficient,” said Joe Brannan, chief executive officer of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Not only that, but this deployment could also bring economic development, education and healthcare opportunities – by leveraging existing assets – to the parts of our state in most critical need of such services.”

North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives collectively serve approximately 2.5 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.  As a subsidiary of Wilkes Telephone Membership Corporation with more than 60 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, RiverStreet Networks provides service in areas of North Carolina and Virginia with offerings of telephone, internet, video, security systems and monitoring, and business solutions.



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