Friday, September 23rd – Two years ago, ACE Fiber had just begun deploying fiber broadband services to its membership in Alcorn County. Today ACE Fiber and The City of New Albany Light Gas and Water (NALGW) are pleased to announce a partnership to bring network services to all NALGW electric customers in New Albany and parts of Union, Benton, Tippah and Marshall Counties.
The internet service provider, currently serving nearly 7,000 subscribers in Alcorn County, was one of the first service providers in America to offer 10 gigabit symmetrical broadband to 100% of its service territory. After completing the mainline build to envelope the entirety of Alcorn County in less than two years, the for-profit, wholly owned subsidiary of Alcorn County Electric Power Association has its sights set on increasing the scale of its network operations by utilizing excess fiber that will be built by NALGW for the purposes of grid modernization.
“We are very fortunate to have an opportunity to scale our network by leveraging the infrastructure that will be built by New Albany Light, Gas and Water,” said ACE Fiber’s CEO, Eddie Howard. “The partnership we are creating will benefit both Alcorn and Union Counties, respectively.”
The sentiment is shared by NALGW, “This project offers a lot of promise for our electric system, “said Bill Mattox, NALGW’s General Manager. “In addition to constructing a network to facilitate our grid modernization efforts, all of our customers will now have access to world class broadband service at an affordable price. We are very appreciative to our Mayor and Board of Aldermen for having the vision to pursue this project.”
Alcorn County Electric Power Association is one of seventeen electric cooperatives in Mississippi that formed either a subsidiary or a division, with the purposes of providing broadband services to their electric membership. As of the end of August, those cooperatives have invested over $650 million, running over 21,000 miles of fiber-optic cable, and serving over 80,000 homes and businesses.
“We have seen that the fiber infrastructure that is being built by the electric cooperatives has proven to be superior to what the incumbent providers have been offering for far too long,” said Sean McGrath, Chief Financial Officer with ACE Fiber. “New Albany and Corinth are very similar in a lot of ways. We feel like we had a good game plan for Corinth and that we can replicate that in New Albany by offering a world-class internet service, backed up by a customer service experience that is second to none.”
Both parties hope to begin the initial design and architecture of the network by the fall of 2022. It is believed that fiber services to New Albany and surrounding areas could begin as early as the third quarter of 2023.
“Working together with local leaders, we have searched and searched for a permanent solution to get high-speed internet service to every customer of New Albany Light, Gas and Water for several years,” said Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley. “Once again, we see how community partnerships solve problems. This partnership with ACE Fiber both closed the digital divide for NAGLW customers and makes good financial sense for everyone involved. I’m honored to have worked alongside these two good organizations. We can now say, without hesitation, that help is on the way.”