Regional broadband provider Comporium and the York Electric Cooperative (YEC) last week connected the first of 5,000 unserved people they will bring service to in western York and parts of Cherokee counties, S.C.
The two organizations formed a partnership to provide 1 Gbps service to areas where the only existing options are DSL or satellite service. The new subscribers will have access to Comporium’s video, voice, security and home automation services.
Comporium is headquartered in Rock Hill, S.C. It provides video, voice, home automation and security services in the Carolinas. YEC is an electric utility serving more than 65,000 members in York, Chester, Cherokee and Lancaster counties, SC.
The Comporium York Electric Cooperative project is expected to take two to three years to complete. New service will be turned up as parts of the network are completed. Residents will be alerted as their area becomes available.
“Our board of trustees and team at YEC knew providing this service would change lives,” Paul Basha, YEC President and CEO, said in a press release.
The Comporium York Electric Cooperative partnership was announced early this year. The project appears to be on time, since the original announcement said that the first customers would be served midyear.
Cooperatives and electric utilities on one hand and broadband providers on the other are natural partners. Often they both have deep roots in a community and can benefit from one another’s expertise and resources. When smart grid initiatives are part of broadband deployments, the electric providers also get a more efficient and cost-effective way to manage and monitor their networks and services.
Electric cooperatives are getting involved in broadband deployment in numerous ways. As the Pew Charitable Trusts noted in a recently released report, four states, including South Carolina, have given electric utilities and cooperatives the option of leasing their utility equipment to providers of last mile broadband.