EMPOWER Broadband Inc., is a wholly-owned broadband subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC), providing middle-mile capacity, retail high-speed internet service, as well as voice over IP telephony, high-speed data services, and advanced cloud-based solutions throughout portions of Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina.
In meeting its own requirements for ultra-high-speed communications, MEC recognized 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), was initiated to provide unprecedented high-speed internet access. During the pilot, MEC members, located within 1,000 feet of this backbone, were be able to subscribe for ultra-high-speed broadband internet service through EMPOWER Broadband. This retail pilot served portions of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Pittsylvania counties.
Since the completion of the backbone fiber project, EMPOWER has begun branching out to many other localities across MEC’s service territory, with the intent of ensuring all MEC members have access to true, high-speed broadband internet. MEC will seek federal, state, and local grants, as well as other financial assistance opportunities, 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.
EMPOWERING OUR CUSTOMERS
EMPOWER Broadband is a natural extension of our purpose - "powering our communities and empowering customers." 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?"