Illinois Electric Cooperative Announces Internet Expansion in Pike Co.

By Benjamin Cox on February 3, 2023 at 5:44pm

Internet Service Technician Michael McDade climbing one of the co-op's towers. (Courtesy of IEC)

Illinois Electric Cooperative has announced they are expending their Internet capabilities in Pike County.

According to an article originally published in the January issue of Illinois Country Living, IEC was one of 30 electric cooperatives nationwide that received funds through the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction. The funds awarded to the co-op were made available by the FCC specifically for Pike County.

The funding is made specifically for service providers to subsidize the cost of building new network infrastructure or performing network upgrades to offer voice and broadband service in areas where it is lacking. IEC officials say the CAF funding is similar to rural electrification that occurred in the country in the 1930s or the building of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

The co-op is working with Ericsson and XtremeLTE as technological partners in deploying the infrastructure to make higher wireless speeds possible in Pike County. This expansion is the first carrier-grade technology the co-op has deployed. The new wireless technology is line-of-site but will offer speeds of up to 100 mbp/s for downloads and up to 20 mbp/s for uploads where available.

The co-op will add six new broadcast locations, including south of Atlas, near Chambersburg, north of Pearl, Milton, New Salem, and near Hull, to go along with existing sites. Fiber optic cable is being run to towers to increase capacity for subscribers. The project is expected to be completed in 2024. The higher-speed internet packages are currently only available in the Nebo area, but the co-op says as more equipment is deployed in Pike County, they will alert customers on their website.