What is the EMPOWER Broadband pilot project?

MEC’s EMPOWER Broadband pilot project will utilize $2.6 million in Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission grant funds to deploy fiber to connect consumers within 1,000 feet of a 135-mile fiber backbone crossing portions of Brunswick , Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Pittsylvania counties.


When will construction begin and who will do the work?

Fiber construction has started from our central location in the Chase City Headquarters office to Highway 360. Lines will continue to be built both east and west. The installation of fiber directly connecting to homes and businesses will begin as early as November. The retail fiber deployment will be performed by contractors under the direction of MEC personnel. This method of deployment allows MEC crews to continue critical electric system construction and maintenance while also expediting the installation of FTTP.


Will my home be within 1,000 feet of the backbone line?

We are currently engineering the exact route the backbone line will traverse; a map showing the most current proposed path is shown below.

When will EMPOWER Broadband be available to every MEC member?

The deployment schedule is largely dependent on the availability of funds. EMPOWER Broadband will continue to aggressively seek grant funds to extend services across the MEC system and beyond.


How fast is the internet service offered by EMPOWER?

  • The basic package is 50 Mbps download/50 Mbps upload.

  • Speeds provide simultaneous video to at least five separate devices with no buffering.

  • A four-minute song can be downloaded in 6/10's of a second.

  • A 45-minute TV show can be downloaded in 30 seconds.

  • For the most demanding user, EMPOWER Broadband's fiber is capable of delivering speeds up to 1 Gig.



 Why fiber as opposed to wireless or other technologies?

  • An all-fiber network provides our communities with communications capabilities, educational and training opportunities, and economic development infrastructure resources that rival the best in the world and it can be upgraded without laying new fiber.

  • Wireless internet solutions offer the advantage of quick deployment and a marginally lower cost; however, wireless is challenged in scalability, reliability, and security. Trees, buildings, and weather impact wireless service. Wireless internet can be compared to the reliability of your cell phone. Wireless may be good for mobility, but it does not offer competitive speeds or the unmatched reliability of wired connections

  • A fiber network provides the foundation for all wireless solutions.