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REC Launches Fiber Utility Network

16 December 2019 News


December 16, 2019

FREDERICKSBURG – Rappahannock Electric Cooperative began the installation of a Fiber Utility Network over the weekend.

REC installed 25 miles of fiber optic cable in Culpeper to start the project. The co-op’s goal is to add over 800 miles of fiber optic cable to connect REC’s offices, substations and towers. The installation of the high speed data transmission medium will allow REC to respond to outages faster and operate the entire electric system more rapidly according to a press release.

“This technology has the potential to make a positive difference for so many of REC’s member-owners,” COO John Hewa said in a press release. “We couldn’t be more excited to launch this project.

REC also expressed the potential the install could have on internet access to rural residents. Expansion of high quality internet access to rural areas has been a focus of several projects and political campaigns, both locally and nationally. If the entire fiber optic project is finished, third parties could lease capacity on REC’s network. Then, it could be possible to expand high speed internet and broadband access to more rural communities throughout Virginia.

The Fiber Utility Network will cost $30 million. It will improve REC’s infrastructure in several ways, including replacing a 30-year old microwave communications system between each REC office. The Co-op also plans to use the new network to implement several new business systems in the coming years.

 

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