Months after receiving grant money through the Mississippi state Legislature, Delta Electric’s project to bring broadband internet to its customers in Carroll County has been progressing well, says David O’Bryan, the cooperative’s general manager.
Delta Electric, through its wholly owned subsidiary, DE LightSpeed, started providing broadband internet service to Carroll County customers the week before Thanksgiving, O’Bryan said.
By the end of March, O’Bryan said, the project should be complete — meaning that high-speed internet will be offered to everyone in the project’s coverage area.
“There’s a tremendous need, given COVID-19, for learning at home along with telemedicine and telework. This project is designed to help bring that high-speed internet access to those in needed areas,” he said.
Customers will have a minimum speed of 100 megabits per second (mbps) and a maximum speed of 1,000 mbps.
O’Bryan would not disclose how many households now have broadband internet, saying those numbers are proprietary. However, he did say that the project was designed to provide broadband internet to more than 1,935 customers in unserved and underserved locations.
Over the summer, Delta Electric received $4.9 million in grant money through the Mississippi Electric Cooperatives Broadband COVID-19 program to expand broadband internet service to underserved portions of Delta Electric’s 13-county area of utility coverage. The targeted area for Delta Electric’s project includes a large portion of Carroll County and a sliver of Grenada County.
The technology used to deliver Delta Electric customers broadband, or high-speed internet, is fiber, often considered the gold standard because of its high capacity and high speeds, O’Bryan said.
According to BroadbandNow, an internet provider consumer advocacy group, only 36.7% of Carroll County has broadband internet.
Fiber internet also means there’s a “low latency system,” meaning there’ll be little buffering, O’Bryan said.
In addition to fiber internet, he said, “our customers will have access to a free mobile app to manage the Wi-Fi within their home. This will allow them to register their devices, do speed tests and establish parental controls within the home.”
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