Falling Into Place
Sprout expanding to new areas in 2023
Sprout Fiber Internet powered by Cullman Electric Cooperative is nearing completion of its second successful year and is ready to expand service to even more co-op members in 2023.
From the launch in 2020 to the first online subscribers in 2021, Cullman Electric Cooperative has been piecing together the Sprout Fiber Internet puzzle. It started with connecting the co-op’s offices and substations, which made Sprout’s gigabit-speed broadband internet service available to more than 12,000 co-op members. More pieces to the puzzle have been added in 2022, and Sprout anticipates having more than 5,000 subscribers by the end of the year. The 2023 expansion will make Sprout available to an additional 7,700 Cullman EC members while adding more than 500 miles of fiber-optic cable to the co-op’s infrastructure.
High demand for Sprout from co-op members combined with material shortages due to supply chain issues and rising costs have prevented Sprout from expanding as quickly as planned. Every appointment on the installation scheduled is booked more than four weeks out, meaning some areas scheduled for service in 2022 will go live in 2023.
Cullman Electric Cooperative CEO Tim Culpepper said strong consumer demand is a positive indicator for the long-term growth of Cullman Electric’s fiber subsidiary.
“Cullman Electric Cooperative members have made it clear that they want a reliable, high-speed internet service, and feedback from the more than 4,000 subscribers is that Sprout Fiber Internet is exceeding their expectations,” Culpepper said. “The co-op’s ultimate goal is to make Sprout available to every co-op member. Getting the materials we need is a challenge that will take some time to work through, but we know our members want Sprout, so we are committed to getting the job done.”
The areas that had to be delayed in 2022 will be the focus of expansion efforts in the first six months of the new year. Plans for the second half of 2023 will make Sprout available to more than 3,200 members across the co-op’s service area.