Catching up with the Cullman Electric Co-Op

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Cullman Electric Cooperative (Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – In early February, Governor Kay Ivey awarded over $188 million in grants in a bid to help expand internet service provider’s reach through many “middle-mile”” projects throughout the state. One of those grant recipients was the Cullman Electric Cooperative’s (CEC) middle-mile project, described as “helping fill the gap in broadband expansion to make it more economically feasible and less labor-intensive for providers to extend services to unserved businesses and households in the state.”

Approximately $1.46 million was granted to the Co-Op by Ivey and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) in order to expand the middle-mile program to an area spanning over 100 miles and holding 15 anchor institutions – eventually converting those areas to Sprout capable locations.

CEC Vice President of Member Engagement & Communications Brian Lacy said, “We found out last week that we are receiving a $1.46M grant from ADECA to help with the state’s middle-mile fiber project. It won’t impact how quickly we are able to get Sprout to every home we serve, but it will help with reliability on our electrical system, and will make the quality of Sprout’s service even better.”

Once middle-mile projects are closer to completion, more households and businesses will be able to get the Co-Op’s fiber internet, Sprout. It currently covers only a portion of  the CEC’s member base, but that number will continue to grow as more and more areas can be connected with broadband service. Along with the middle-mile project and expansion, Lacy said Sprout internet is soon going to have more service areas and more customers.

“Sprout 2024 growth is in the works. The map (www.cullmanec.com/sprout) on our website shows all of the areas where it will be coming to this year. The first area should be announced before the end of this month,” shared Lacy. “We currently have more than 9,200 subscribers and will be celebrating our 10,000th subscriber later this year.”

The community is also invited to attend the CEC’s annual Touch a Truck event, to be held at the Cullman County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. This year, the CEC is keeping those members that may have sensory issues in mind, dubbing 9-10 a.m. “sensory friendly hour,” diminishing loud noises and flashing lights and hosting a smaller crowd.

“We’ll have information coming on soon about the event,” Lacy mentioned.“It will be a sensory friendly hour (with) no horns, sirens or flashing lights from 9-10 a.m.”

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