RED SPRINGS– Jonathan S. Adelstein, Administrator of USDA’s Rural Utility Services (RUS), recently visited Lumbee River EMC to receive an update on the cooperative’s RUS funded rural broadband project.
In 2010, LREMC was the recipient of a $20 million loan / grant combination as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide high speed internet access to un-served and underserved portions of Robeson County.
As of today, the main lines or back bone of this system is being installed with the anticipation that some services to consumers will be available in the second quarter of 2013.
“Most people are unaware of the amount of time it takes to get a capital intensive project such as this through the design and construction stages,” says Jeff Jackson, Manager of Information Technology for LREMC. “We knew it would take us a year or more from the time we started until the first consumers would have access to this network.”
In addition to the staff committee responsible for the project, the LREMC’s Board of Directors Technology Committee was also in attendance. “I would like to thank the staff and my fellow board members for all of the hard work that has been done to accomplish what we have so far,” says Madie Rae Locklear, chairperson of the LREMC’s Board of Directors Technology Committee. “There is much work still to be done, but we are pleased with the progress so far,” she added.
“This is the type of leadership needed to ensure economic growth for years to come,” says Administrator Adelstein. “It takes a visionary board to take these bold steps,” he added.
Once the project is complete, residents will have a fiber optics network that will provide not only high speed internet access but potentially phone and television services to areas that don’t have those services now. It will also provide LREMC with fiber connectivity to many of its facilities allowing for a much more efficient operation.