In late 2018, Central Alabama Electric Cooperative’s (CAEC) Board of Trustees approved a plan to construct a fiber network for broadband to CAEC members who desperately need this service. This process involved creating a subsidiary (Central Access), wholly owned by CAEC. Our fiber construction began on Aug. 5, 2019, with a 400-mile fiber core to serve CAEC’s 24 substations and six offices.
Despite a global pandemic and material shortages, we have been dedicated to the cause of providing rural broadband to our members and are currently have over 11,000 homes and businesses receiving service. While still in the construction phase for several areas, we anticipate being able to supply service too the vast majority of CAEC members by the end of 2023.
You can visit www.centralaccess.com to view a map of our service area containing zones, grant areas and the initial construction core as well as anticipated construction and service dates for those zones and areas.
This has been a multi-year project, but we are even closer to providing broadband to those who no one else has been willing to serve.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about Central Access.
Q. How do I find out if I’m eligible for service?
A. Visit www.centralaccess.com and enter your address. You will then be shown whether the address falls into one of three areas:
1. Initial core (Phase I)
2. Grant area
Q. I am in the initial core, when will I get service?
A. The mainline construction of this core has been completed. If you fall within this area and register for service, you will be notified when it is time to schedule your in-home installation.
Q. I am in a grant area, what does this mean?
A. In addition to plans for the core ring, grants have been awarded for several of our communities and those areas have been incorporated into our construction plans. Many grant zones now have service available and timelines for these grant areas can be found here on our map.
Q. My address falls within a zone, what does that mean?
A. By entering your address on centralaccess.com, you can see which zone your address falls into as well as the estimated timeline for your zone to receive service, or if service is currently available. No community will be left out, and our goal remains to offer service to all CAEC members. We do urge you to register for service if you have not done so in order to expedite your home-installation process.
Q. Is there an installation fee?
A. No, there are no installation charges.
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.
Q. I received my fiber drop, what is this and when can I expect service?
A. To expedite the installation process, Central Access contractors may have already begun the process of running the drop line from the pole to your home. 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), we will send you a notification to schedule your in-home installation at a time that’s convenient for you.
Q. How can I help get the word out to my neighbors about this project?
A. We can host virtual meetings with your neighborhood, church or civic club and 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. Do you offer phone services?
A. Yes. Residential, nationwide, unlimited phone service for the continental United States is available for just $19.99/mo.
Q. Do you offer television services?
A. No. The lowest speed we offer 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, including Roku streaming devices that you can purchase directly from us.
Q. I own a business, are there business services available?
A. Yes, with a variety of packages and custom solutions for any business size. Contact us at 1-888-706-4754 to learn more!