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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Rural Co-ops and a Path to Broadband Access

Electric cooperatives were so successful in electrifying rural America that in 1949, the REA was authorized to fund cooperatives for telephone services. Or, as we would call the service today, “telecommunications.”

And it’s on that peg that leaders of the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC), based in the Nelson County community of Arrington, believe they’ve found a way to address the biggest challenge facing rural America in 2018: the unavailability of access to broadband internet services.

We have argued many times that broadband access is as critical an issue for rural America today as electrification was 80 years ago. Broadband access, with speeds surpassing 100 Mbps and more, is rarely given a second thought in a city like Lynchburg or Danville. But in surrounding counties, thousands of residents can only dream of such access.

That’s why the CVEC board of directors recently voted to form a subsidiary to do what its own predecessor did in 1937 with electricity: constructing broadband on-ramps for members in its 14-county service area.

Read the rest at The News & Advance


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