Monroe County residents could have broadband access by early 2021

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Monroe County, Miss. (WCBI) – Residents in Monroe County are one step closer to getting high speed internet.

An agreement between the Monroe County Electric Power Association and Kansas City based Conexon will provide broadband services to nearly 11,000  customers.

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Conexon will provide services such as network design and engineering, construction management and customer support for the broadband service. It is a big step in an expensive undertaking

“This is a $30 million project, and we want to make sure it’s designed correctly,” said Barry Rowland, who is general manager of MCEPA, which was the first electric co op in the country.

The electric co-op will form a subsidiary called “M-Pulse Fiber” which will handle day to day operations of the broadband service.

On Monday, OSMOS, a Georgia-based company, will begin preliminary engineering work for the fiber network.

“What they will be doing, you may see them come to your home, on side of the road, at poles, they will go to every single pole, check clearances, permits , crossings, railroads, waterways, state highways,” Rowland said.

It is a long process, but Rowland said he has heard from many customers, who are eager to connect to a world class broadband network.

“With the schools, the situation we’re dealing with, we’ve allowed WI FI access in our parking lot here, one of our members, she thanked me because she comes to our parking lot and watches their church service, I think it will be great for the whole communities we serve,” Rowland said.

MCEPA will start construction on the network by the fall or winter. The first customers could be on line by early next year.

It will take four years to build the entire network for all customers in the Monroe County electric Power Association.