fiberopticThree years after a Tennessee power company kicked off the gigabit network trend with the announcement of a residential gigabit network in Chattanooga, more electric utilities are getting in on the trend.

On Wednesday, Missouri electric cooperative Co-Mo Comm said it will launch gigabit service in August. And today Habersham EMC, a northeast Georgia electric cooperative, said it is increasing the speed its broadband network will support to a gigabit.

Habersham EMC (HEMC) calls the service Trailwave and will charge $99 a month for the service. The company also has a 50 Mbps offering for $49.95.

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Gigabit networks in Chattanooga and Kansas City have helped create economic opportunities for those communities. And in an announcement of HEMC’s gigabit service, HEMC CEO Todd Pealock highlighted the potential of the new network to do the same for northeast Georgia.

“We recognize [the network] as a part of the complete infrastructure package we bring to both recruitment and internal economic development efforts,” he said. “We can compete with the best broadband communities anywhere in the country.”

HEMC plans to make gigabit service available to the 1,800 customers who are currently on its fiber-to-the-home infrastructure. In addition the company plans to add 25,000 additional homes.

Like some other network operators deploying high-speed broadband services, HEMC plans to select areas for the new deployments based on the level of interest expressed by residents in those areas.

“Outside of our current serviceable area, we will connect where there is the most demand,” said Trailwave Project Manager Michael Foor in the HEMC announcement. “Anyone in an extended area can get service faster by encouraging their neighbors to pre-register as well.”

The underlying network, known as the North Georgia Network Cooperative, interconnects several northeast Georgia communities and was funded, in part, through a $33.5 million broadband stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The network also supports HEMC’s smart grid initiative.

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