Central Missouri Electric Cooperative (CMEC) has and is currently actively working to assist Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in our region to deliver broadband to our member-owners. While CMEC does not directly offer broadband services, we are committed to supporting these ISPs with broadband buildout to our members. This includes providing Charter/Spectrum with new pole attachments including engineering and construction of larger poles for fiber-to-the-home. In summer of 2023, Charter submitted their first round of proposed attachments to CMEC poles southwest of Sedalia.
To see which internet service provider was awarded funding to in your area refer to the MO State Broadband map located here. For a quick overview, you can view our map after the FAQ below.
Your cooperative reviewed the feasibility of a broadband rollout to the membership several years ago. We reviewed it again in 2019 through 2020 and found the same answer: a successful broadband business with marketable broadband rates would require a 20-30% residential and small commercial electric rate increase to subsidize buildout to the entirety of our membership.
That rate increase would be on top of any other typical rate increases and would force several electric-only members to subsidize a service they did not use. CMEC had between ⅔ and ½ the potential subscribers-per-mile when compared with multiple electric cooperatives who had successfully rolled out a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network to their membership.
For many months of 2020, several employees worked alongside some of the broadband industry’s most experienced consultants to evaluate and prep for the possibility of a major FTTH project constructed by CMEC. Your elected board of directors led and played and active role in spurring us on as we looked to stretch the cooperative’s resources and business model well beyond prior norms.
In late October 2020, we participated in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. With tens of millions of dollars potentially available, we attempted to win sufficient government funding to financially subsidize a large-scale FTTH project while still keeping your electric rates reasonable low. Ultimately, we did not win funds because other companies participating in the RDOF auction implemented bidding strategies that drove available funds below 30% of full-award values–well below the cooperative’s minimum threshold.
While we can’t speak to all possibilities of the future, Central Missouri Electric Cooperative’s (CMEC) current most viable and effective impact in the broadband space is to support current internet service providers (ISP). CMEC offers ISPs within its service area access to extend coverage through a make-ready license agreement. This facilitates coverage to more of CMEC’s members while leveraging the use of existing electric distribution infrastructure. CMEC is providing new pole attachments including engineering and construction of larger poles for fiber-to-the-home through local ISPs. These ISPs work with CMEC surveyors and engineers ensuring that strength and safety requirements are met.
Current federal funding considers our geographic area as "funded" since there have been winners of funds already provided. This means that no additional funds can be awarded to the vast majority of our area at this time. CMEC is always looking as new funding is announced and may pursue funds that become available in the future.
Central Missouri Electric Cooperative (CMEC) offers internet service providers (ISPs) within its service area access to extend coverage through a make ready licensed agreement. This facilitates coverage to more CMEC’s members while leveraging the use of existing electric distribution infrastructure. CMEC is open to and has encouraged other ISPs not presently on CMEC infrastructure to consider working with CMEC to enter license agreement contracts supporting their buildout like others already building on the system. As of the summer of 2023, Charter has submitted their first round of proposed attachments to CMEC poles southwest of Sedalia.
CMEC will continue to update its members on broadband news in our area as it becomes available. Members can also reach out to the internet service provider which was awarded funding to serve their location.