Fellow Tombigbee Members:
I want to introduce myself, my name is Scott R. Hendrix and I am the new Chief Executive officer of Tombigbee Electric Power Association and Tombigbee Fiber, LLC. In this role, it is my intention to bring more information to you than ever before.
Everyone seems to have the same question of us these days: “When will I get fiber?” The simple answer to that question is it depends on where you live. When Tombigbee started this project, Tombigbee did not have fiber built anywhere on its system. To get fiber to you, we had to do several things. First, we had to do engineering work to design the fiber network and to make sure our electric system and poles were ready to handle the added fiber. Next, we had to build to connect to the outside world, build a fiber hut at our substation and then build the main line between your house and the hut, and lastly make a tap, drop and install into your home.
Our project was originally designed in four phases, each phase projected to be one year to build. The phases were to include a mix of populated areas to begin generating funds to help pay for the project and more rural areas to serve those that were not otherwise served. Today, we have collapsed our four phases into three phases based in large part because of Cares Act grants made available by the State of Mississippi to encourage the serving of the least served areas. A phase map is attached to this letter to give you some idea of where you fall. The State used definitions set by the federal government, namely the FCC, to determine where those least served areas were that were eligible for the grants. Tombigbee had to build to those areas to receive the grant. Additionally, Tombigbee had to match those funds with our own to do so.
Where do we stand? Today, we have turned on 750 miles of fiber, and have installed eight fiber huts and have four functioning at this time. A little over half of that lit fiber is in rural areas, as defined by the State and FCC. To give you an idea of pace, in November of 2020, we celebrated our 100th customer, on January 20, 2021, we celebrated our 1,000th, and as of February 5, 2021, we have 1,500 customers in service. Our goal is turn on 200 customers per week. To give you some perspective, historically we only build about 300 miles of new electric line per year and add about 400 new electric members per year.
We hope to complete phase 1, by June of 2021, phase 2 by June of 2022 and phase 3 by June of 2023.
You can find out more specific information for your address and actually sign up where service is now available on Tombigbeefiber.com.
Tombigbee Electric Power Association
Tombigbee Fiber, LLC
Scott R. Hendrix, CEO