Central Access: CAEC’s Broadband Subsidiary


In late 2018, CAEC’s Board of Trustees approved 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. We are currently constructing a core to serve our facilities and as a part of this process, we are also building out to those members who are in the initial core construction 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 as we continue to activate services. You can see if your home or business falls into this initial ring and sign up for just $25 by entering your address at 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 initial core area or not, 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 construction zones.

September 2020 update


Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Central Access.

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’m eligible for service?

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

Q. I am in the initial core, when will I get service?

A. In August of 2019, we began the 15-month process of a 400-mile fiber core to connect our system’s substations and offices. This core (known as Phase I) is broken into four parts. Customer activations in Part 1 began in January 2020, and as we begin connecting homes with fiber in your area, we will send additional information. As we complete each part, we will notify you that service is ready for activation.

Q. I have received my fiber drop, what is this and when can I expect service?

A. To expedite the installation process, Central Access contractors have begun the process of running drop lines from the pole to customer homes (who have paid the $25 commitment fee). The drop line attaches to a connection box, also known as a NID (Network Interface Device). The NID serves as the access point for the fiber from outside to inside the home.

As we complete the work needed to activate your service (which may involve continued construction on the main core), we will send you a notification to schedule your in-home installation at a time that’s convenient for you.

Q. I am not in the initial construction core, what does that mean for me?

A. As the model is proven, we can move additional activation 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 initial construction core in order to move forward, and we are at 90% of that goal! Even if you’re not in the initial area, 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. This will be a multi-year project, but taking this first step right now gets us closer to providing broadband to those members who no one else has been willing to serve.

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 at www.centralaccess.com to see if you fall in the initial core.

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 construction for beyond outside the main core has not has not begun, we are already accepting pre-registration for the areas outside of the construction zone.

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

A. With COVID-19 we are limited to attending neighborhood, church or civic club meetings, but we can provide you with printed materials, yard signs or a PDF that you can share.

You can also follow and share our information on social media or simply send the www.centralaccess.com link to everyone you know and tell them to pre-register.

Q. Will you offer phone services?

A. Yes. Residential, nationwide, unlimited phone service for the continental United States is available for just $19.99/mo.

Q. Will you offer television services?

A. No. 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.

Q. I own a business, are there business services available?

A. Yes. We offer a variety of packages and custom solutions for any business size. Contact us to learn more!