Three electric co-ops bringing fiber-based broadband to the heartland

Fiber optic cable like this is being ­installed by Illinois Electric Cooperative to provide high-speed Internet service to rural communities.

Fiber optic cable like this is being ­installed by Illinois Electric Cooperative to provide high-speed Internet service to rural communities.

Calix, Inc. in February announced that Illinois Electric Cooperative, Barry Electric Cooperative and Callaway Electric Cooperative are all transforming their businesses by expanding into broadband service delivery within their respective service areas in Illinois and Missouri. Now, residential and business subscribers alike will be able to take advantage of fiber-based voice, video and high-speed Internet services, giving their rural communities new opportunities for economic development.

Illinois Electric Cooperative serves 11,000 electric meters in 10 central Illinois counties. IllinoisNet.com was created initially to bring fiber broadband services to the communities of Winchester and Bluffs. IllinoisNet.com is offering voice, video, high-speed data, and managed Wi-Fi services to more than 2,200 members across the two ­communities. Early response and sign-ups exceeded expectations, allowing IllinoisNet.com to ­consider expanding its service into other nearby communities in the future.

“Much like electricity ­revolutionized rural America in the 1940s, we expect fiber to once again transform our communities,” said Sean Middleton, manager of ­engineering at

IllinoisNet.com. “This technology will allow our ­members, both businesses and ­consumers, to communicate in ways they have never been able to in the past.”

“Electric cooperatives have proven to be fiber innovators over the last several years, bringing fiber-based broadband services into many underserved parts of the country,” said John Colvin, senior vice president of North America sales at Calix. “Each of these cooperatives has not only demonstrated a commitment to their communities by offering the most advanced broadband services, but also a commitment to the future health of their cooperative through this exciting business transformation.”

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