With true speeds of up to 1 gigabit, MidSouth Fiber Internet is a trailblazer in its community, bringing vital services to rural areas historically ignored by other internet providers.
Two years after its first connection, MidSouth Fiber Internet completed the initial three-phase construction of its fiber-to-the-home project last month. Originally scheduled to take three years to complete, MidSouth’s team worked long nights and through weekends to ensure members have access to reliable high-speed internet.
As fiber internet is introduced into the co-op’s service territory, Kerry Kelton, MidSouth Electric Co-op general manager and CEO, said high-speed internet is life-changing for some members.
“It’s just like in the 1940s, when MidSouth Electric Co-op was born from a need of electricity in rural areas investor-owned utilities refused to provide service to,” Kelton said. “Our members wanted a reliable internet option competitive with those found in urban cities, and MidSouth decided to deliver.”
Nestled in the heart of the Texas Triangle, between major cities Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, MidSouth’s territory is in a unique position for economic growth. Installing a strong internet infrastructure now prepares the territory as more residents and businesses move in. MidSouth Fiber has been providing fast and reliable internet to homes and businesses since June 2020, when the first subscriber was connected.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated growth of the system. “The pandemic proved many jobs could be completed remotely. As a result, a lot of people packed up their families and moved them out of the city,” Kelton said. Many of MidSouth Fiber’s active subscribers identify as work-from-home employees.
Before launching the fiber-to-the-home project, MidSouth conducted research to ensure its equipment and offerings could not only serve the average family but be reliable enough to support the changing workforce environment.
MidSouth Fiber subscriber Jessica Jeffries struggled with her career working from home before becoming a subscriber.
“As a wedding and livestock photographer, my job requires uploading media online,” Jeffries said. “Before MidSouth Fiber, we were using hotspots just to get the job done. Now I can upload entire galleries in minutes instead of hours or days.”
With the speed and reliability fiber offers, Jeffries said her ability to turn around photos quicker improves the likelihood a client purchases images from her website.
Kelton said MidSouth Fiber focuses on providing its members with top-tier service. “MidSouth offers symmetrical, unlimited speeds to its members,” he said. “Regardless of your data usage, MidSouth doesn’t throttle your upload or down-load speeds.”
Additional perks for MidSouth Fiber Internet subscribers include access to 24/7 tech support and an app designed to simplify the experience and protect devices from malicious threats. To continue to set itself apart from competitors in the area, MidSouth Fiber introduced a new way to address unplanned internet outages in early 2022.
“Having internet is just as necessary as electricity nowadays,” Kelton said. “When your power goes out, MidSouth prioritizes restoring service as quickly and safely as possible. We’ve adopted the same strategy with fiber.”
Once a subscriber has reported a fiber outage to the 24/7 tech support center, a fiber technician can analyze their account data. If the solution requires more than a simple reboot, the technician creates a work order and sends it directly to the outage response team. Depending on the severity of the outage, a technician or construction crew is dispatched to determine the source of the outage and restore service. This new approach helps shorten the amount of time a subscriber is unable to use the internet and increases reliability.
In a short period of time, MidSouth Fiber finds itself at the forefront of broadband service, bringing cutting-edge ideas and technology to residents within its service territory. In just two years, MidSouth Fiber has deployed 2,800 miles of fiber line across six counties with more than 8,000 active subscribers.
Kelton gives credit to the cooperative’s employees and partners for the project’s rapid growth and success.
“Even when faced with a pandemic that closed our offices and caused supply shortages, our employees have performed exceptionally well, regularly working late into the night to finish this project at an unrivaled pace,” Kelton said. “Many of our employees live in our territory and understand the struggles our members were facing before MidSouth Fiber became available.”
MidSouth EC’s cooperative principles continue to guide its decisions as it looks forward to what’s next. Members in MidSouth EC’s territory and fiber fans can keep up with the latest updates or sign up online at midsouthfiber.com, where they can create an account, choose their speeds and schedule in-home installation.