COVID-19 highlights the lack of broadband internet in rural areas and the impact it has on education, healthcare, work-from-home opportunities and economic progress. It reaffirms Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative's commitment to making ultra-fast, affordable, reliable broadband an option for all its members through Meriwether Lewis Connect and a 100-percent fiber-to-the-home network.
Service is live in and around the cities of Centerville, Hohenwald, Linden, Lobelville, Waverly, McEwen, New Johnsonville, Erin and Tennessee Ridge. Construction to serve all of Humphreys and Houston counties is scheduled to conclude near the end of January 2021. These counties are divided into design areas, and installations begin as soon as an individual area is ready.
"We want to serve everyone in all five counties at once, but with an area this large, it just isn't possible," says MLEC President and CEO Keith Carnahan. "The first thing everyone wants to know is when we are coming to their neighborhood. The second, is why we started in the cities. The answer is simple and complicated at the same time. Considering the size of our service territory and equipment we already had in place for MLEC operations, we felt this was the quickest, most economical way. The strong infrastructure is now in place service the cities, and we are moving out as fast as we can into the rural areas."
An announcement will be made later this year for Phases III and IV, which will include the rural areas of Hickman, Lewis and Perry counties. In the meantime, MLEC offers free Wi-Fi spots to help the communities: Hickman County - Jerry Dixon Riverfront Park; Houston County - Betsy Ligon Park; Humphreys County - Waverly City Park; Lewis County - Memorial Park; and Perry County - Veteran's Park.
"MLConnect is a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of MLEC and more customers will help offset the total project cost," says Carnahan. "We're grateful for those who have already signed on and look forward to serving more."
Regardless of location, you can register with MLConnect on www.mlconnect.com by clicking "I'm Interested." These registrations will be used to contact residents when service becomes live in their area.