EMPOWER Broadband is a wholly-owned telecommunications subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC), which is in the beginning stage of deploying fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) Internet and telephone services to rural residents across Southside Virginia.
In meeting it's own requirements for ultra-high-speed communications, MEC recognizes the need of its residential, commercial and industrial members to also have access to high-speed, high-capacity broadband service. Therefore, a pilot program to extend fiber from the backbone to the premises of MEC members, Fiber-To-The-Premises (FTTP), has been inititated that will provide unprecedented high-speed internet access. During the pilot, MEC members located within 1,000 feet of this backbone will be able to subscribe for ultra-high-speed broadband internet service through EMPOWER Broadband. The retail FTTP pilot will serve portions of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania counties. Upon completion of a successful pilot, the fiber initiative will be undertaken for the entire system.
In addition to a $2.6M grant received from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, MEC will seek federal, state, and local grants and financial assistance wherever available to be used for the retail deployment. Success in securing the funds will determine, in large part, how quickly EMPOWER Broadband services can be offered to additional areas.
EMPOWER Broadband is a natural extension of our purpose - "powering our communities and empowering members." We believe that broadband is this generations equivalent of electric service of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1938 no one would bring electric power to rural areas because of the sparse population and the inability to recover the investment. This parallel leads us to ask the same question about fiber that the forefathers of MEC asked the community about electricity in 1938..."if we don't do it...who will?"