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 with mainline construction coming to completion by the end of this year. During 2021, we will continue working in all four parts to activate services. You will be notified when it is time to schedule your in-home installation.

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. When we release a map of our service area containing zones, you will be able to see which zone you fall into and the interest level for our service within your zone. This is key since moving forward, customer demand will determine our construction route and zone activation, so the more people signed-up in an area, the faster that zone will be added to the construction schedule, with our goal remaining to offer service to everyone. Register at www.centralaccess.com.

Q. My address falls in a grant area, when will I get service?

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. For those located in grant areas, it is important to realize that there are several requirements that have to be met before funds are disbursed and permission is given to begin construction, so please be patient as we navigate through that process.

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