On Friday, April 9, Chairman Dane Maxwell of the Mississippi Public Service Commission joined the team at DE Fastlink, LLC, a subsidiary of Dixie Electric Power Association, to formally sign an order releasing $21.4 million to bring high-speed internet service to over 30,000 member's homes and businesses in its 7-county service area.
“I believe bringing high-speed internet to rural areas is the new historical movement in our part of the area,” Chairman Maxwell said. “We are going to be the ones to make history. In 100 years, we will be remembered as the people who brought high-speed internet to rural Mississippians.”
The Chairman went on to say that he is proud of the electric power associations, like Dixie Electric, for their commitment “to bring affordable high-speed internet” just as they brought electric power to rural areas many years ago.
Last year, Dixie Electric participated in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I Auction process and was awarded $21.4 million. After today’s signing, DE Fastlink, LLC is now approved as a designated Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) which allows DE Fastlink to accept these federal funds.
In the coming months, DE Fastlink will work to deploy high-speed internet and phone service to rural homes and small businesses that are currently unserved or underserved.
“We are thankful to have received the RDOF funding for our members,” Dixie Electric General Manager Randy Smith said. Currently, DE Fastlink is serving more than 300 members with high-speed internet in south Jones County and northern Perry County.
DE Fastlink will continue to install a 3,000+ mile fiber optic cable network, expanding internet services to Dixie Electric’s members over the next four to five years.
Mississippi was the second-highest recipient of these funds with a total of 21 winning bidders of RDOF funds who will potentially receive a collective total of more than $495 million.