Telecom and Broadband

Communication is vital to the electric grid: sensors and other equipment transmit data about grid operations to the cooperative; utility crews in the field must communicate with the central office. Advanced telecommunications technologies – both wired and wireless – enable electric cooperatives to deliver reliable and affordable power safely.

As advanced equipment and applications “smarten” the grid, cooperatives will be making upgrades to their existing telecommunications networks to support the new grid technology being deployed.

At the same time, electric cooperatives recognize the important role of broadband in their communities. Many cooperatives have been involved – directly and indirectly – in bringing high-speed communications services to rural America. Some electric cooperatives are also broadband service providers and some provide access to infrastructure and excess capacity on their networks so that others can provide these services.

Where We Stand
  • Electric cooperatives strongly support federal financing initiatives that will ensure that all Americans have access to affordable broadband services, while at the same time preserving necessary universal service funding for existing services in high-cost areas.
  • To protect their ability to provide reliable, affordable electricity, electric cooperatives oppose:
    • Moves that would force cooperatives to a “one-size-fits-all” telecommunications solution rather than have multiple options from which to choose to design the most cost-effective telecommunications system for each cooperative’s specific needs.
    • Moves to subject cooperatives to federal regulation of pole attachments by the Federal Communications Commission.