CULLMAN, Alabama —Community leaders gathered Monday with Cullman Electric Cooperative staff to celebrate the first co-op members becoming subscribers of Sprout Fiber Internet.
“This truly is a historic moment, much like when the first residents in the region received electricity,” Cullman Electric Cooperative CEO Tim Culpepper says. “This technology carries the same potential to improve the quality of life for our members.”
The event was held outside the Simcoe Community Center on Highway 69 where Cullman EC’s historic marker is located, celebrating the co-op role in rural electrification of Cullman County in 1936. A stone marker was placed next to the plaque, noting that residents in the Berlin and Simcoe areas are the first co-op members to be connected to Sprout Fiber Internet.
Sprout Fiber Internet is the fastest, most reliable internet technology in the world, and Cullman Electric will begin connecting members to this life-changing technology.
“The impact of rural electrification was one of the most significant events in the history of Cullman County,” Culpepper said. “Making reliable, high-speed fiber internet service available to the communities we serve will be just as significant today and into the future.”
Cullman Electric has started building a fiber network that will connect all of the co-op’s substations and offices to further enhance the quality of its electrical service. In the process, Sprout Fiber Internet will make gigabit speeds available to more than 12,000 co-op members. So far, 120 miles of the main-line fiber ring have been constructed, completing the first of five steps in the construction process for approximately 2,400 co-op members.
Fiber optic technology is the fastest, most advanced internet technology available, and Cullman Electric Cooperative is the only provider in the region building a state-of-the-art, utility-grade fiber network for its members.
Culpepper said the co-op anticipates having approximately 200 subscribers in the Berlin area active by the end of February, with plans to increase the pace of subscriber connections throughout the spring and summer.
Fiber internet improves opportunities in education, health care, economic development, entertainment and much more.
“Sprout is an important project, and all of us on the board are very excited to see it come to fruition,” says Robert Tidwell, chairperson for the Cullman Electric board of trustees. “It’s amazing to see how much progress has been made since the board approved this project in December 2019. The reality of how big and important this project is starts to sink in now that we’ve reached the point of having co-op members with Sprout Fiber Internet service in their home.”
Sprout Fiber Internet will offer Cullman Electric members upload and download speeds starting at 300 Mbps and going as high as a gigabit per second. Cooperative members are encouraged to take an online speed test at speedtest.net to check their current internet speed and learn how much of a difference Sprout Fiber Internet can make for their home or business.
Cullman Electric Cooperative was founded 85 years ago by local farmers to make sure rural residents had the same opportunities as those living in urban areas. Culpepper said this project is in line with the co-op’s mission to power communities and empower members.
Visit cullmanec.com/sprout or call 256-737-3200 for more information.