RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES IN THE 21ST CENTURY, Broadband and You, Sneedville Shopper, March 2019

RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Broadband and You
By Bill Kornrich, Powell Valley Electric Cooperative Member Voices

  You may see Powell Valley Electric (PVEC) and other trucks around the area tying new cable to electric poles. This cable is actually glass fiber and carries high speed (broadband) internet. High speed internet is becoming an essential part of our daily lives – helping people to communicate with each other, do business, and provide entertainment in the home. School students need the best internet connection available for their school work and future.
Rural America has been left behind in acquiring this technology. PVEC General Manager/CEO Randell Meyers sees broadband internet service becoming as important a utility as electricity. PVEC is currently exploring options to provide high speed internet to all member-owners in the cooperative’s service area. Many of us with satellite or dial up internet connections know how much better fiber optic is – and it is less expensive.
Some areas of Hancock County already have this high speed service. Resident Bill McCabe says “I am one of the lucky ones. A few years ago, when I was working from home as an organizer for local community groups, I struggled with dial up. It was the only choice, and added hours of frustration to my work week. Now, with high speed internet at an affordable rate, I can watch movies, download big files, and easily look at complicated medical data. Everyone should have access to this.”
In 2018 the state of Tennessee awarded a $1.3 million grant to provide this service to unserved areas of Hancock and Claiborne Counties. Tim Long of Sunset Digital stated that there are 579 residential hookups to be installed as part of the grant.
To find out if you are in the area covered by the state grant, go to http://www.sunset-fiber.com and click on “new customers” or call 877/318-6368. If yes, you will complete an application to be hooked up.
If you are not in the grant area, call PVEC at 423/626-5204 and say that you are interested in a high speed internet connection. This will help PVEC in its efforts to provide all members in Hancock and other counties with high speed internet.
For more information on Powell Valley Electric Cooperative, go to pve.coop or
pvecmembervoices.wordpress.com
  This is the first in a series of articles about Powell Valley Electric Cooperative.