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Tri-County begins fiber optic project; $50M effort will expand broadband
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Tri-County begins fiber optic project; $50M effort will expand broadband

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Tri County Fiber Optic

Employees of Tri-County Electric Cooperative gather for the kick-off celebration of their fiber optic project August 13.

A three-year project to bring a fiber optic network to Calhoun County and beyond began on Thursday.

“Just like in the 1940s when we came together to bring power to rural areas, now in 2020 we’re coming together to bring a fiber network,” Tri-County Electric Cooperative CEO Chad Lowder said.

The project was kicked off with a ceremony at the Moorer Road substation just outside of St. Matthews.

Lowder said bringing fiber to homes is the next step.

“You’ll start seeing our trucks out there and you’ll actually start seeing fiber hung on the poles,” he said.

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Lowder said the project will start in St. Matthews and will build out into the rural areas over the next three years.

“When you start seeing fiber come into your area, that’s Tri-County,” Lowder said.

The service will transmit data up to 1 gigabit per second, which is fast enough to download a full, high-definition movie in just a few minutes.

The investment for the project is $50 million.

The St. Matthews-based utility will be working with engineering firm Conexon to construct about 1,700 miles of fiber network that will serve about 15,000 homes and businesses in six counties, including Orangeburg and Calhoun counties.

The fiber-to-the-home network build-out will deliver broadband internet speeds and capabilities to the service area.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

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