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CECC Announces Broadband Internet Service

Over the past 81 years, you, our members, have helped us build a robust electric system to provide safe, reliable and affordable electric power to over thirty thousand rural Arkansans in eight counties across Northeast Arkansas. To continue this mission, substantial investments in smart- grid technologies will be necessary. Over the next seven years, Craighead Electric will build a digital communications network to link critical utility assets (substations, switches, regulators) together, so they can be monitored and controlled remotely. What this means to you is an unprecedented increase in reliability for your electric service; improved metering, less frequent outages, shorter outages when they do happen, and more.

This planned communications network, together with our existing infrastructure, puts Craighead Electric in a unique position to provide a service that our members have long been asking for, broadband internet.

The need for reliable broadband is apparent in rural Arkansas communities. An estimated 44% of Craighead Electric Members do not have access to broadband services as defined by the Federal Communications Commission. Adependable, high-speed, and low-latency internet service is crucial for economic development, educational advancement and access to medical services for our members.

Today, like the 1930s, Craighead Electric Cooperative is working to serve northeast Arkansans that would otherwise go unserved by large, for-profit organizations. We have always been in the business of improving the quality of life for our members, and that mission continues with our commitment to rural broadband.
Five thousand miles of fiber optic cable will be hung from existing poles and buried alongside existing underground services over the next seven years. Craighead Electric will own and maintain this new network, but a new, for-profit, Internet Service Provider will utilize it to provide digital services to our members.

Introducing “empower”, Delivered by Craighead Electric; a wholly-owned subsidiary that will offer low-latency broadband internet, crystal-clear digital phone, and streaming ultra-HD TV throughout the Craighead Electric service territory.
Empower will deliver broadband connections in one of two ways, via LTE-based fixed wireless antennas (up to 25mbps down and 5mbps up) and true fiber-to-the-home (up to 1gbps down and 1gbps up). The utilization of fixed wireless devices will allow for the quickest roll-out to the greatest number of people while the greater fiber network is being built.

Once broadband service is available at your location, home phone and streaming television will be offered as well. Empower has partnered with cloud voice platform Alianza to provide digital home phone and, in most cases, will use your existing handsets and your current home phone number. Streaming ultra-high-definition television will be made possible by Sling TV, featuring á la carte channel selection, DVR, and integration with local channels.

Follow empower on social media at and for more updates on the future of rural broadband.