Over the years, you’ve heard me talk about how Dixie Electric is different––because we’re a cooperative. Our business model sets us apart from other utilities because we adhere to seven guiding cooperative principles and reflect on our service for the greater good of the community.
Electric cooperatives, including Dixie Electric, have a unique place in our country’s history. In the 1930s, we brought electricity to rural areas when for-profit electric companies believed serving rural areas was too costly. Today, we are bringing high-speed internet to rural areas. Once again improving the quality of life for those living in rural areas because high-speed internet provides opportunities for distance learning, telemedicine and online job prospects.
In addition to the announcement last month that we are expanding DE Fastlink services across our service territory, I’m pleased to let you know that we have secured approximately $21 million in grant funding from the Federal Communications Commission through their Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. Although I am excited to make this announcement, these funds will only cover a portion of the costs to deploy high-speed internet.
Over the past few months, we have received several questions about the cost of high-speed internet affecting electric rates. I would like to reassure you that state law prevents us from funding internet service through electric rates. For more information about our high-speed internet services, visit DEFastlink.net.
As you may know, we have always been committed to serving our community. The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to adjust our community service plans, but at the same time, not lose focus on the necessity of being a partner to our community in tough times. In January, we participated, along with other electric cooperatives, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Day of Service. Our employees prepared 220 backpacks for children who are entering foster care in local communities. Living out the cooperative principle of Concern for Community is critical to our mission.