Two co-ops add internet services


Rural Mississippi is about to see whether its desire for high-speed internet service matches the cost of providing it.

Two electric cooperatives in north Mississippi have announced plans to offer the service under rules set up a few months ago by the state Legislature.

Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association, based in Batesville, said it will start putting out fiber-optic cable next month as part of a plan that will take four years to complete and cost $60 million.

Tombigbee Electric Power Association, based in Tupelo, is spending $95 million on its internet system.

Tallahatchie Valley is financing the work with a mix of loans and grants. Tombigbee presumably is getting some grants as well, given the amount of spending the co-ops announced.

In fact, the planned investments are one reason for optimism that the extension of high-speed internet to rural areas will actually occur instead of just being a goal.

Electric cooperatives date to The Great Depression and have always run their businesses frugally. They do not have to make a profit, but they do have to distribute electricity at a reasonable cost. Over the decades, most of them have proven to be pretty good at that.

Given this history, the two north Mississippi co-ops would not have made their high-speed internet plans without solid information that enough of their electricity customers want the new service.

The law prevents co-ops from requiring electricity customers to buy high-speed internet, but the fact that these organizations are putting up money for fiber-optic lines shows they expect to make their money back over time.

Rural America faces a number of economic disadvantages compared to towns and larger cities. Internet access should not be one of them.

Hopefully more of Mississippi’s electric cooperatives are looking at high-speed service.


Perhaps this Friday night will begin to satisfy the hunger of a team of Tigers.


Willie Lee Clay of Chicago died unexpectedly on Monday, August 19, 2019 at the age of 76 due to... READ MORE

Breaking News

The redrawn lines for Districts 13 and 22 will be in effect for tomorrow’s primary elections.