Fast Forward

September 2022

Rapid Fiber Internet is coming to SVEC ’s consumer-members

Since its earliest days, the mission of Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) has been to bring crucial electric service to communities that might not otherwise have it. That’s why, in July, we were excited to announce that we are doing the same thing again with high-speed fiber internet.

In spring or summer 2023, SVEC will begin construction of a fiber optic network spanning the cooperative’s territory. With that network, we will expand our electric system’s smart grid/self-healing capabilities which will lead to shorter power outages as well as increased security, reliability and resiliency for the electric service we offer.

That fiber network will also be used to deliver 100% fiber-to-the-home high-speed internet service to all of our consumer-members who want it. Through the cooperative’s newly formed subsidiary, Rapid Fiber Internet LLC, we will open the door to new opportunities in education, health care, economic development and more.

“Our communities have long suffered from a lack of internet service with speed and capabilities that those in more populated areas have enjoyed,” SVEC CEO Mike McWaters says.

To serve that need, the cooperative is partnering with Conexon, a leader in rural fiber optic network design and construction. While many internet providers use copper lines to make the final connection to the home, SVEC is dedicated to building an entirely fiber network to offer the fastest speeds. As a result, Rapid Fiber Internet customers will have access to lightning-fast symmetrical upload and download speeds up to 2 gigabits per second.

“We know that internet is necessary for children to go to school, for people to have access to health care and to do home businesses,” state Sen. Loranne Ausley says. “So the fact that Suwannee Valley is taking this on is such a great announcement for the people who live in the district and it’s going to really move us forward.”

SVEC expects to start connecting its first Rapid Fiber Internet customers in the summer or fall of 2023. In the meantime, interested consumer-members can visit Rapid Fiber Internet page for more information and to take an internet speed test that can help SVEC obtain funding for this exciting new project.

What is Fiber?

A fiber connection is the gold standard of communications transmission. But what does fiber do that traditional copper wire communications can’t?

  • Sends and receives data at ultra-high speeds
  • Capable of carrying an extremely large amount of data over vast distances
  • Connects multiple devices without delays or interruptions
  • More reliable and less susceptible to interference, lightning and weather damage

Benefits to SVEC’s Grid:

  • Enhances the flow of data used to detect faults and control electrical devices throughout the grid, resulting in shorter power outage response times and greater operational efficiency
  • Increases electric system security, reliability and resiliency

Benefits for Home Internet:

  • Offers matching download and upload speeds of up to 2 gigabits per second
  • Supports unlimited data and high-definition media, including streaming TV
  • Enables more effective remote learning, telemedicine, work-from-home connectivity and economic development

Your Questions Answered

We know you have questions about how, when and where Rapid Fiber Internet will be coming to your home. Here are answers to a few of the questions we hear most often, but you can also find more information on our Rapid Fiber Internet page.

Where will high-speed internet be available?
The goal is to ultimately make high-speed fiber internet available to all SVEC consumer-members throughout Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwannee counties, and northern Columbia County. Service may be offered to non-SVEC members in the future, but our first priority is serving SVEC members.

When will construction on the network start? How long will it take to complete?
Construction is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023, with the first customer connections anticipated in the third quarter of 2023.

How can I sign up for service?
Initially, SVEC consumer-members will be able to indicate their interest by submitting an online form. SVEC and Rapid Fiber Internet will be in touch later when the time comes to formally sign up for service.

Will my electric bill increase to pay for the fiber-to-the-home network?
No. This will not increase your electricity costs.

What is a fiber-to-the-home network?
Fiber optic cables are made up of tiny strands of glass that carry data using light waves, resulting in optimum internet speeds and reliability. A fiber optic network can carry an extremely high amount of data and is more reliable than other networks because it’s less susceptible to interference and damage from lightning and other acts of nature.

Fiber is also future-proof — it has the ability to meet today’s needs for bandwidth as well as future demand.

Have You Taken the Internet Speed Test?

Results from the State of Florida’s speed test may help us obtain grant funding for our upcoming 100% fiber-to-home network.

Learn more and take the test on our Speed Test page.