Co-op moves forward with fiber-to-the-home initiative for members
By Sean Vanslyke
In the baseball world, a triple play (denoted as TP in baseball statistics) is the rare act of making three outs during the same continuous play. Triple plays happen infrequently – there have been 711 triple plays in Major League Baseball from 1876 through mid-season 2017.In the technology world, a triple play is a bundle of three services for your home or business. Typically, the three services include high-speed internet, high-definition television and digital phone. We have heard from the cooperative’s member-owners that affordable and reliable triple play services are rare in the rural area. Did you know SEMO Electric Cooperative is working to provide triple play services to you? The board of directors approved a plan to install fiber-optic cable to connect substations and offices to increase the reliability of electric service to members. Plus, if all goes well, the plan is to provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and triple play services for your infotainment.
Broadband is the electricity of the 1930s and 1940s. In 1930, fewer than 10% of farms had access to electricity. In 2016, 53% of Americans lack access to broadband. Much like the cooperative did with electricity in 1938, SEMO Electric plans to provide real and affordable broadband to southeast Missouri. This endeavor falls in line with the cooperative’s purpose: “powering communities and empowering members.” Since the cooperative has more than 2,600 miles of line, this will take some time. The entire build out could take at least 60 months. The approved plan is to begin with a portion of the territory and build out from there. Only the first phase was approved by the board.
As we develop our triple play offering, we are leveraging the knowledge of other Missouri rural electric cooperatives that have broadband and/or FTTH experience so we protect SEMO Electric’s ratepayers and the financial integrity of the cooperative. We have made visits to Co-Mo Electric Cooperative’s Co-Mo Connect in Tipton, Mo., Callaway Electric Cooperative’s Callabyte Technology in Fulton, Mo., and Ralls County Electric Cooperative’s Ralls Technologies in New London, Mo. So far, we simply see the excitement and hear the appreciation from members of these three cooperatives. In each case, FTTH continues to expand.
While we are not ready to announce the first build location, we anticipate starting with substations in Advance, Bloomfield and Miner. A number of factors are considered to help decide the build-out order. Those factors include density (number of meters per mile), total cost, cost per home or business passed, cooperative communication needs, office locations and revenue projections. SEMO Electric will evaluate the success of each phase as the business moves forward. We ask members to be patient as we work on fiber design for route maps, infrastructure make-ready needs, splicing diagrams and construction schedules. Please visit our offices or visit gosemofiber.com for more information.
Congratulations to SEMO Electric’s Martin Ward. After 34 years of service, he retired to chase golf balls and other things. Martin, a Navy veteran, was a lineman and a service design engineer. Many, many members-owners know Martin. Best wishes Martin… enjoy your next chapter!
When member-owner Amy Townsend visited the Bloomfield office to pay on her pay-as-you-go account, I asked if she liked the service. Her response was amazing. Because she is doing pay-as-you-go, she said she knows exactly how much energy her home uses every day and she is no longer surprised at the end of the month. She feels more in control of her electric bill. She is advocating other members to use the service.
What is pay-as-you-go? It offers the opportunity to pay when you want, in the amounts you want. Instead of receiving a traditional paper bill that is generated once each month, usage is calculated daily. Pay-as-you-go members never pay a late charge and are not charged disconnect and reconnect fees if the account runs out of credit.
Is there a deposit for pay-as-you-go? Pay-as-you-go members are eligible to have their deposit waived or refunded and applied toward your current energy costs. This puts your deposit money working for you now instead of being held on your account to secure future service.
How many members are using pay-as-you-go? Since we started offering pay-as-you-go last fall, we are averaging 36 members a month that switch to pay-as-you-go from traditional billing. In many cases, they share Amy’s testimony of being more aware, more informed and more in control. Please call us at 800-813-5230 if you have questions or wish to enroll.
Book of the Month
“You don’t have to be mad and sad anymore. You don’t have to focus on your problems. You don’t have to feel sorry for yourself. You can feed the positive dog and starve the negative dog on your way to a happier, successful, and more fulfilled life. You can be the kind of positive dog that every dog in the shelter wants to be around and every family wants to take home.” Jon Gordon – The Positive Dog
Be smart. Act safe.