SOUTH PITTSBURG - Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) recently announced the launch of a new subsidiary, SVEConnect that will bring high-speed internet service to SVEC members in Marion County, excluding the Monteagle area. The cooperative will also offer phone and television services.
SVEC has been building a fiber network for several years to connect the co-op’s offices and substations. This network allows SVEC to incorporate smart grid technology into its daily operations, improve integration of distributed energy resources and help lower power costs through interactive energy management programs. The existing fiber backbone is also beneficial to cooperative members who wish to utilize technology to better manage their energy use.
While this network is a vital part of the co-op’s engineering and operations plan for the future, the capability to transport information over this fiber network is immense. This existing infrastructure allows SVEConnect to bring broadband to previously unserved areas quickly and affordably.
“This is a long-term project that will be an investment in our communities,” said SVEC President/CEO Mike Partin. “As an electric cooperative, we have nearly eighty years’ experience delivering power to the rural communities that for-profit companies would not serve. Today, the vital service needed by our members is high-speed internet. So many businesses, industries, educational and medical institutions and even our homes depend on broadband service. It is also a proven economic driver that attracts and retains businesses and families.”
Until recently Tennessee State Law prohibited electric cooperatives in Tennessee from providing retail telecommunication services. However, with the passing of the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act last year, the restrictions have been lifted for areas of Tennessee not served by a telephone cooperative. The only SVEC area not served by a telephone cooperative is Marion County.
“It will take time to build the lines out from our existing network, but we will be keeping our members up-to-date as we move from community to community,” said Partin. “No one is in a better position to understand the importance of taking essential services to low density areas. We’ve spent nearly eighty years building our reputation as a trusted provider of safe, reliable, affordable electricity, now we are working to extend that reputation of trust and quality service by providing affordable, dependable high-speed internet service, Voice-over IP telephone service and television programing.”
Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative is a consumer-owned electric utility that provides energy to more than 35,000 homes and businesses in parts of nine southeast Tennessee counties. Learn more at www.svalleyec.com.