After approximately 26 months of construction, Comporium and York Electric Cooperative (YEC) have this month announced completion the parties' joint fiber expansion project in two upstate South Carolina counties.
The two utilities, both headquartered in the state's York County, signed their original partnership agreement in December 2020.
As noted by a June 13 press release, at the time, demand for high-speed internet service was at an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents in the most rural areas of York and Cherokee counties did not have access to broadband service, hindering their ability to work and learn from home while businesses and schools were closed.
The initial phase of the project's construction began in early 2021, with the first YEC member connecting to the partnership’s fiber network in July 2021. Phase one of the buildout was completed in October 2022 and introduced broadband access to more than 2,100 YEC members in northwestern York County. The expansion continued with Phase 2, which was completed in February 2023. This part of the project delivered 1Gbps access to an additional 1,900 co-op members.
The completion of the third and final phase means that nearly 5,000 homes can now take advantage of fiber-based internet service thanks to this project. In all, the total investment in these communities is estimated at $16 million.
Comporium, Inc., headquartered in Rock Hill, S.C., is a diversified, privately held communications company that employs nearly 1,000 people and provides broadband, TV, voice, wireless, smart home systems and advertising services throughout the Carolinas. Comporium’s ventures include companies supplying business solutions, managed services, and smart devices and connected home services.
Comporium also participates in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. The federal program allows income-qualified homes on the newly expanded network to get a $30 discount off regular monthly rates for internet.
“We are happy to be able to bring high-speed internet, including our Zipstream gigabit service, to the residents of rural Western York County who previously had to rely on DSL or satellite internet services,” stated Matthew Dosch, Comporium’s EVP and COO. “We’re excited about the success of our partnership with York Electric Cooperative and we congratulate all the teams involved for their hard work and perseverance, especially considering the supply chain challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.”
York Electric Cooperative, Inc. is a not-for-profit electric utility serving more than 68,000 members in York, Chester, Cherokee and Lancaster Counties, and one of 20 electric cooperatives in South Carolina.
”Our goal to improve the quality of life for members in our area has been exemplified by our Rural Internet Project. Like we did 82 years ago, we created a way when there wasn’t one before by working together,” said Paul Basha, YEC president and CEO. “We are happy with the conclusion of the buildout, the connectivity provided to communities and the continued support of our members, board of trustees and Comporium.”