Some may remember or have heard stories of when electric cooperatives brought electricity to rural homes and farms. What a difference it made in the lives of those who had been overlooked or refused service by investor-owned utilities. Now 80 years later East Central Electric is once again bringing a much needed service to the rural community.
east central logoEast Central Electric Cooperative announced today the creation of ecoLINK, a telecommunications subsidiary offering high-speed internet and telephone services to subscribers in ECE service territory.
ECE general manager Tim Smith said, “Thousands of people don’t have access to reliable, high speed internet critical for farm automation, health care, education and community development, due to the unwillingness of telecom giants to extend service to rural areas.” It’s almost as if history is repeating itself. Today’s rural residents are being overlooked by investor-owned telecommunications companies, despite the availability of federal grants being offered to meet the needs of rural communities.
By participating in the FCC’s Connect America Fund II reverse auction, which for the first time, allowed cooperatives to participate as broadband providers, ECE was chosen as one of 35 co-ops that will receive funding for a fiber build-out project. So, begins ecoLINK, a fiber company managed and operated by ECE employees who embody the same attitude and spirit that members know and trust.
Smith said, “The fiber build-out will not only provide reliable, high speed internet to east central Oklahomans, it will also improve electric system communications and reliability. The ecoLINK fiber system will create a smarter, more reliable, and more efficient electric system that will allow for faster, safer outage management and repairs. Our board sees this as a great opportunity for the system and our members.”
Members of East Central Electric and non-members interested in more information on the ecoLINK project should contact the cooperative at 918-756-0833. Visit the East Central Electric website at and follow the Facebook and Twitter pages for further updates.