What’s happening with the Broadband business?
Here’s the update – Legislation passed the Maryland General Assembly in March allowing Choptank to become Member Regulated to start our broadband business. We had to hold a member vote before moving forward. The vote occurred – and passed – on August 13, 2020.
Since then, Choptank has created a separate business, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the cooperative, to operate the broadband business. We are working on the business plan, reviewing our existing fiber infrastructure (smart grid), and developing the technical specs necessary to begin broadband service for members. We are also putting together financing – considering investments, loans, and grants from local, state, and federal government sources.
When will Broadband be available to members?
We expect to begin connecting members in the Summer of 2021. Leading up to that, we expect to kickstart the business at the end of this year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. We will have deployment maps available in early January of 2021 that will let members know when we think we will be building out in their community. This is a 10-year project that we hope to accelerate with grant funding.
How much will it cost?
We don’t have answers on pricing plans or specific packages at this time. We do plan to offer broadband over fiber optic connections directly to the home. We will offer packages up to gigabyte speeds and we will not have data caps. We will not offer television programming, but we will offer internet access and phone service. We plan to have our pricing structure finalized by the end of the year.
How can I sign up for broadband?
Visit the Broadband webpage on our website and complete the registration survey. This does not obligate anyone to sign up for internet service when it becomes available; that will be a separate application process. We will reach out to members who enter their information as broadband becomes available in their communities. We will also post updates to the broadband page as we move forward. The link is https://choptankelectric.coop/broadband.