Roanake Electrical Cooperative

About Roanoke Electric Cooperative

Since 2014, ECC has provided the Roanoke Electric Cooperative (REC) with consulting, planning, development, implementation and business operations services for middle mile and last mile fiber and wireless technology for internal (e.g. smart grid devices) use and external last mile broadband services to its membership.

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Electrical Substations Connected

Fast Facts

Not-For-Profit Rural Electric Cooperative

Fiber Assessment & Business Plan

110 Miles of Fiber Backbone

Broadband Availability & Adoption Tool (BAAT) Survey Completed in 2016

Issue

In 2014, the REC decided to build a fiber network to connect their 11 electrical substations and two business offices to support the business’s internal power grid communications system. The REC is a not for profit rural electrical coop that is located in one of the most underserved areas of North Carolina.

Solution

ECC began provided a fiber assessment to understand the particulars of the network, including the timing, cost to build, and routing, then developed a business plan to potentially offer the fiber as an Open Access middle mile dark fiber system and establish organizational guidelines of fiber ownership. The 110 miles of fiber backbone was completed in 2016.

Outcome

In early 2016 the REC engaged ECC to conduct a six-month Broadband Availability & Adoption Tool (BAAT) survey campaign to show the level of demand for broadband services and smart grid technologies at the customer premise in its service territory.

In the summer of 2016, with the assistance of ECC, the REC let an RFP to qualify service providers that might be interested in using their fiber network and other assets to expand broadband service in its territory. REC determined that none of the responders were committed to providing ubiquitous service or service to all members, which is what the REC desired.

As a result, the REC decided to build and operate its own last mile system. Consequently, the REC formed a new for-profit subsidiary called the Roanoke Connect, utilizing a $20M credit facility and $12.5M of internally generated funds to construct and operationalize a last mile fiber and wireless hybrid broadband solution.

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