Kicking off a three year project, South Carolina Electric Co-Op plans to install a fiber-optic network in six counties. The lucky counties are Orangeburg and Calhoun counties, and portions of Richland, Lexington, Kershaw and Sumter counties. When completed, 1,700 miles of fiber cable will connect the region.
“Our core mission is not just to provide reliable electric service, but to be a stimulus to our local communities,” said Tri-County Electric Cooperative CEO Chad Lowder. “In today’s technological world, fast and reliable internet service is critical for all communities, not just large cities.”
Tri-County Electric Cooperative plans to invest approximately $50 million in the project, starting with the employment of engineering firm, Conexon. Conexon will oversee the engineering, design, construction management, phone service and customer support for the project that will bring broadband to 15,000 homes. Subsidiary Conexon Connect will manage the phone service aspect of the endeavor.
Funding options to complete the project are still under review. Tri-County aims to keep the costs as reasonable as possible. The Co-Op’s existing electrical infrastructure will be modernized with smart grid capabilities. The enhancements will improve power outage response times, electrical delivery, and load balancing capabilities.