Mohave Electric and TWN Celebrate First Fiber-Optic Broadband Connections

MEC, TWN, elected officials and representatives come together to commemorate the first fiber connection. Photo by Stefanie Spencer | Topaz Photography

Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) has exciting news for our members! The first fiber connections have been made. On July 15, 2021, MEC, TWN Communications, state and local elected officials, and community members came together to commemorate the first fiber broadband connects.

In a first-of-its-kind endeavor for an electric cooperative in Arizona, MEC is building a fiber-optic network to enhance electric operations and provide fast, reliable broadband service for MEC members.

“Our members and electeds insisted MEC take on this challenge,” said MEC CEO Tyler Carlson. “MEC was formed by our early members when investor-owned utilities would not provide electricity to this area. Similarly, our members have a drastic need for reliable internet not provided by others. 75 years later, the cooperative model comes full circle, and here we are bringing a fiber network to serve our members’ needs.”

MEC overcame incredible challenges and successfully triumphed a few “firsts” to start a fiber broadband project. MEC is the first Arizona electric cooperative to secure legislation during the COVID-19 pandemic with a super majority of both houses passing SB 1460, and Governor Ducey signing the legislation in June 2020. MEC is the first electric co-op to receive unanimous broadband financing approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission and the first electric co-op to secure $110 million in private financing through CoBank.

These rare milestones demonstrate why MEC’s fiber network is “first of its kind” for an Arizona electric co-op.

Fiber construction crews diligently work to install fiber for MEC members. Photo by Rojeana Wymbs | MEC

Construction for this five-year project began December 2020. To date, there are over 285,000 feet of fiber installed. MEC and TWN also made their first fiber broadband connection in late June.

“This first connection represents another big step toward bridging the digital divide, a cornerstone for telemedicine, remote learning, benefits to business and the economy for our rural area,” Carlson continued.

TWN CEO Colin Wood stated, “We are thrilled to work alongside MEC to bring fast, reliable fiber internet to the region. We hope this partnership provides a positive change to the communities we serve, as well as enriches the lifestyles of cooperative members.”

The fiber-optic network will also enhance MEC’s electrical facilities including substations, MEC equipment, meters, improve communications with our transmission provider (AZ G&T), and renewable energy facilities. By interconnecting our equipment and facilities, the fiber-optic network will allow MEC to receive near real-time data for enhanced operation capabilities.

As we continue with Phase 1 construction and connecting members in Bullhead City, contractor crews may need access to utility easements on or near your property. We ask for your patience and cooperation as we continue to improve our electrical infrastructure.

Be in the know by pre-registering today for your home or business! TWN will send project updates via email and notify you when service is available. Pre-register on our Broadband page, or call (888) 227-2095.