Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC), TWN Communications (TWN), state and local elected officials, along with community members came together on July 15, 2021, to commemorate the first fiber broadband connections.
In a first-of-its-kind endeavor for an electric cooperative in Arizona, MEC is building a fiber-optic network to enhance electric operations and provide fast, reliable broadband service for each MEC member, a service territory consisting of 36,000 members / 42,500 endpoints.
“Our members and electeds insisted MEC take on this challenge,” said MEC CEO Tyler Carlson. “MEC was formed by our early members when investor-owned utilities would not provide electricity to this area. Similarly, our members have a drastic need for reliable internet not provided by others. 75 years later, the cooperative model comes full circle, and here we are bringing a fiber network to serve our members’ needs.”
MEC overcame incredible challenges and successfully triumphed a few “firsts” in order to start a fiber broadband project. MEC was the first Arizona electric cooperative to secure legislation during the COVID 19 pandemic with a super majority of both houses passing SB 1460, and Governor Ducey signing the legislation in June 2020. MEC is the first electric co-op to receive unanimous broadband financing approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission and also the first electric co-op- to secure $110 million in private financing through CoBank. These rare milestones demonstrate why MEC’s fiber network is “first of its kind” for an Arizona electric co-op.
Construction for this five-year project began December 2020, and June 29, 2021, marks the day when MEC and TWN made their first fiber broadband connection.
“This first connection represents another big step toward the bridging the digital divide, a cornerstone for telemedicine, remote learning, benefits to business and the economy for our rural area,” Carlson continued.
TWN CEO Colin Wood stated “We are thrilled to work alongside MEC to bring fast, reliable fiber internet to the region. We hope this partnership provides a positive change to the communities we serve, as well as enriches the lifestyles of cooperative members.”
To date, there are 268,000 feet of fiber installed. MEC’s fiber project is not just designed to bring a rural area to par with urban areas but is designed to enhance electric operations, broadband services, and be compatible with future technology over the next 30 years.
Founded in 1946, Mohave Electric Cooperative is a not-for-profit utility providing reliable, cost-effective power to 33,000 members, 42,000 meters, with more than 1500 miles of line spanning areas from Bullhead City to Topock on the west, Hualapai to Burro Creek to the south, and Nelson to the east. For over 25 years, TWN Communications has worked with electric cooperatives to deploy broadband and voice communication services. Through these partnerships, TWN develops unique fiber optic and fixed wireless networks to meet growing broadband demands. TWN operates in four states, has more than 16,000 customers and service covering over 500,000 square miles, and growing.
You can help us identify MEC members interested in fiber-optic internet by telling your friends and neighbors to pre-register at twncomm.com/mohave/.