Central Access: CAEC’s Broadband Subsidiary

 

In late 2018, CAEC’s Board of Trustees approved Phase I of a plan to construct a fiber network for broadband to rural Alabamians who desperately need this service. This process involved creating a subsidiary (Central Access), wholly owned by CAEC, which will construct a 400-mile fiber optic ring and connect our 24 electric substations and six offices. Additionally, the co-op has finalized the study that determines which homes fall into the initial Phase I area. You can now see if your home or business falls into this initial ring by entering your address at www.centralaccess.com.

We are constructing a core to serve our facilities and as a part of this process, we will begin building out to those members who are in the Phase I area and who have already indicated an interest in service by paying a $25 commitment fee. This step will expedite the process of connecting homes to high-speed broadband once the service is active. You can still sign up for this same amount by visiting www.centralaccess.com.

This will be a multi-year project, but taking this first step now gets us closer to providing broadband to those members who no one else has been willing to serve. Whether your home falls in the Phase I area or not, please continue to encourage your friends and neighbors to indicate their desire for service by committing at www.centralaccess.com. This will prove vital as the project enters additional phases.


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Central Access as well as the goals for Phase I.

For the most up-to-date information and more, visit the Central Access social media pages!

 

Q. What speeds will be offered and what will be the monthly cost for residential customers?

 Q. How do I find out if I am in Phase I?

A. You can visit www.centralaccess.com and enter your address to see if you fall in Phase I of the project. Other areas and phases will be added as Phase I reaches its 35% take rate.

Q. I am in Phase I, when will I get service?

A. Phase I is a massive undertaking, which involves constructing the core, allowing us to begin individual residential and business services. Due to its size (400-miles), we have broken Phase I into four parts so that you can get a general idea of a timeline for your area.

While we expect the whole of Phase I to take 15 months to complete, each of the four parts should take approximately 3-4 months to complete. In the next couple weeks you will receive a postcard in the mail informing you of which of the four parts your home falls.

So does that mean you’ll receive internet in the next three to four months if you’re in Part 1 of Phase I? Not exactly. While installation of broadband for those in Part 1 is expected to be rolled out first, for the purpose of reliability, service will not be “turned-on” until January, following the testing process.

Q. I am not in Phase I, what does that mean for me?

A. As Phase I takes off and the model is proven, we can move to Phase II of the project, which involves installing infrastructure past the 400-mile core and on to even more customers. We need to reach the goal of a 35% take rate from those within the first phase in order to move forward.

Your sign-up, as well as your neighbors, matters! We will use data from areas that have paid the $25 commitment fee to help determine which areas or communities will be next in line for construction. Our goal was and always will be to bring quality, lightning-fast internet to our entire service area, but we have to build it one mile and service at a time.

Q. If I am not a member, can I still get service?

A. Based on how close you are to our construction path, you may be eligible for service. Enter in your address atwww.centralaccess.com to see if you fall in Phase I.

Q. Will this create jobs for the co-op or will this be contracted out?

A. Initially, a combination of CAEC employees and contractors will be used for various processes.

Q. What happens to the $25 I paid for participating in the initial survey?

A. As construction moves forward, member interest will help determine which communities get connected next.

Paying the $25 for the survey has already placed you on the pre-registration list for service and will also count toward helping us to determine demand in your community. While Phase II has not begun, we are already accepting pre-registration for the areas outside of the Phase I construction zone.

Q. How can I help get the word out to my neighbors about this project?

A. Invite us out to a neighborhood, church or civic club meeting! We can also provide you with printed materials or a PDF that you can share.

Send the www.centralaccess.com link to everyone you know and tell them to pre-register.

Q. Will you offer phone or television services?

A. The lowest speed we off er is capable of allowing you to take advantage of the many streaming TV options available–opening up a whole new
world of entertainment! We can help you choose the service that works best for you. Residential phone service is available for $19.95.