You asked for it. We're building it.

Coming in 2021: 400-mile fiber ring and fiber-to-home pilot project

Daughter with elderly parents using an iPad in a living room.

You asked for it. We're building it.

Coming in 2021: 400-mile fiber ring and fiber-to-home pilot project

After two years of research, including input from our members, review of feasibility studies, consultation with experts and visits with co-ops already deploying the service, SRE’s Board of Directors have approved a plan to build its first fiber project, including a 400-mile fiber ring connecting all the co-op’s substations and offices, and participate in its first fiber-to-the-home pilot project. Future broadband expansion to other areas is dependent on the success of the pilot.

What are the benefits of a fiber-to-the-home network?

Broadband high-speed internet provides multiple benefits, including improved opportunities for economic development, telemedicine and education in rural areas.

In addition, by creating a more robust fiber system, we are enhancing our electric grid with more automation capabilities to better serve electric members. A smarter electric grid allows Singing River Electric’s devices to communicate with each other and delivers benefits such as improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery and more.

Will Singing River Electric (SRE) offer broadband service to its members?

After two years of research, including input from our members, review of feasibility studies, consultation with experts and visits with co-ops already deploying the service, SRE’s Board of Directors have approved a plan to build its first fiber project, including a 400-mile fiber ring connecting all the co-op’s substations and offices, and participate in its first fiber-to-the-home pilot project. Future broadband expansion to other areas is dependent on the success of the pilot.

Why did SRE decide to a build fiber network and participate in a pilot project?

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our members in the communities we serve. High-speed internet service is not readily available throughout our communities served and local communication or cable companies have yet to make an investment in all areas, especially those with small population density.

We want to help all our members and local businesses cross the digital divide and receive the same opportunities as those who live in more populated areas.

Why didn't SRE build a system before now?

Until 2019, Mississippi state laws did not allow electric cooperatives to provide internet service. Seeing the need to bring internet service to rural areas of our state, the state legislature changed the law, allowing electric cooperatives to offer these services and bridge the digital divide. Also, many in our communities have become even more dependent on high-speed internet since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

What is the timeframe and scope of the buildout?

The fiber ring project is scheduled to begin by summer of 2021. While the fiber ring will be used initially for SRE’s electric grid, it will be designed and built to potentially provide high-speed internet service to surrounding areas.

The fiber-to-the-home pilot project is expected to begin later this year as well. A pilot location will be identified by March 2021 and shared with members in the Today in Mississippi magazine that is mailed to members.

Will SRE offer internet service throughout its whole service area?

Participation by SRE members in the pilot project will give the board direction on future broadband expansion to other areas.

Will my electric rate go up?

No, fiber deployment will not affect electric rates. Under the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act, an electric cooperative cannot use energy sales revenue to subsidize broadband services.

When and how can I sign up for service?

SRE will identify the pilot location in the March 2021 Today in Mississippi magazine. Members in the project area will be given instructions on how and when to sign up for service.

What internet packages are available?

Keep reading the Today in Mississippi magazine that is mailed to members and following SRE’s social media for more information on our broadband service.

How much will it cost?

Keep reading the Today in Mississippi magazine that is mailed to members and following SRE’s social media for more information on our broadband service.