NC Co-ops: Rural Broadband Infrastructure is Critical
Electric co-op leaders weighed in on connectivity at a rural development summit
Rural broadband infrastructure is critical infrastructure. That was the shared message of Joe Brannan, executive vice president and CEO of North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, and Marshall Cherry, chief operating officer of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, at the “Energizing Rural North Carolina” event hosted by the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
The two-day conference, held in July 2018, brought together local economic development and community leaders from across the state to share insights and develop strategies for encouraging rural economic development through five major building blocks: infrastructure, workforce, education, health and leadership.
During the infrastructure portion of the program, Brannan discussed the electric cooperatives’ support for bringing high-speed broadband service to rural North Carolina. Cherry provided a specific example by giving an overview of Roanoke Connect, Roanoke Electric Cooperative’s initiative to develop broadband technology that will not only increase grid flexibility and efficiency, but also provide a broadband connection to underserved homes and businesses in its region of the state.
"We support efforts to make affordable broadband service a reality and promote a high quality of life for all North Carolinians."
Brannan and Cherry discussed how such initiatives could be replicated elsewhere in the state, and how those involved in rural economic development can assist in broadband efforts.
“This is an issue we need to address on all fronts,” Brannan said. “Our smaller communities deserve the opportunities that come with reliable connectivity, and we support efforts to make affordable broadband service a reality and promote a high quality of life for all North Carolinians.”
Visit Roanoke Electric’s website for more information about the Roanoke Connect initiative.
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