Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Awarded $10 Million in Grants for Fiber Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jon Little, Director of Communications
(386) 330-5662 (office), (970) 413-4112 (mobile)

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Awarded $10 million in Grants for Fiber Network

LIVE OAK, Fla., February 6, 2023 – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Office of Broadband has awarded two grants totaling $10 million to Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC). The grants will help defray the costs of building a 100% fiber-to-the-home network that will be used to provide reliable and affordable high-speed internet service to the cooperative’s consumer-members.

The grants were awarded through the State of Florida’s Broadband Opportunity Program which is a competitive reimbursement grant program within the DEO Office of Broadband, established to expand broadband Internet service to unserved areas of the state. The Florida Legislature has appropriated $400 million in federally funded State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to the program which was created and is governed by Section 288.9962 of the Florida Statutes.

“SVEC’s consumer-members are excited about the co-op’s plan to make world-class internet service available to them for the first time, and it’s gratifying to know that the Office of Broadband feels our project is worthy of funds,” says CEO Mike McWaters.

Construction of SVEC’s network, which will be capable of delivering symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 2 Gigabits (2,000 Megabits) per second, will occur in three phases, span over 4,100 miles of line and cost up to $93 million. Phase 1 is underway and SVEC hopes to begin offering internet service through its wholly owned subsidiary, Rapid Fiber Internet, LLC, to some of its consumer-members later this year.

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative
Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) was founded in 1937 in North Florida. After planning and construction, this member-owned cooperative energized its first electric line in 1940. Since the beginning, SVEC has worked tirelessly to bring safe, reliable and affordable electricity to its rural communities. Today, SVEC maintains over 4,100 miles of power lines and serves more than 28,000 consumers in Florida’s Columbia, Hamilton, Lafayette and Suwannee counties. Visit the Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative website.

 

Crews from Musgrove Construction and rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader, Conexon, work to make SVEC's infrastructure ready for the installation of fiber-optic cable.