Oklahoma Electric Coop Readies FTTH Pilot Project

  • FTTH
HULBERT, OK - Lake Region Electric Cooperative Inc. (LREC) is investigating bringing fiber-to-the-home Internet service to homes and businesses in its service area. LREC is one of a growing number of electric cooperatives in the Midwest that are expanding their traditional business models to include advanced broadband services for their members.

Rural electric cooperatives brought electric service to rural communities in the 1930s when no investor-owned utilities or municipal systems would; today, they see broadband service as the next step in improving the quality of life in rural areas.

LREC hopes to offer high-speed Internet access and phone services over its fiber access networks. Most of its subscribers have Internet access only via satellite or wireless broadband, and the cooperative says these services are not meeting members' needs.

The cooperative's board of trustees authorized LREC to prepare for a small-scale pilot project after determining how many members will commit to purchase broadband and/or phone services. The cooperative has already begun going door-to-door and making phone calls to sign up early registrants.

"In rural Oklahoma, we must find every opportunity to keep our community thriving and competitive with urban areas," says Stanley Young, LREC's marketing director. "With this fiber access network, every member of our cooperative will benefit, from recent graduates who can now work from home, to businesses that can take advantage of tailored, high-bandwidth packages, and schools that can collaborate with other institutions."

“Expansion of broadband service to rural areas is as important ... a mission as it was to bring electricity to the rural areas in the 1930s, and the cooperatives have a proven track record that they can tackle the task at hand,” says LREC CEO Hamid Vahdatipour.

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