4:43PM August 16, 2023
In 2018 East Central Electric accepted the mission of
providing reliable, affordable internet service to members in our communities
by forming ecoLINK fiber services.
The mission was similar to when the co-ops first brought
electricity to rural homes and farms. It
made such a difference in the lives of those who had been overlooked or refused
service. Now, 85 years later, we’ve done
it again by building 4,153 miles of fiber to provide internet to over 31,000
broadband service locations.
The cooperative core value of improving quality of life for
others inspired us to accept the mission and our approach was with the same
attitude and spirit that East Central Electric members know and trust. There was a need in the East Central Electric
service area that the Board of Directors recognized just in time.
“We recognized the importance of high-speed internet, but
none of us were fully prepared for the extent of the desperate need,” said
ecoLINK Director of Broadband Operations Jeremy Hendrickson. “When the pandemic
began, the need for high-speed internet was obvious. We received feedback from
educators, students, remote workers, and individuals requiring telemedicine
services that were desperate to get access. It certainly pushed us into higher
Initially the mission was a six year, six phase project. Once the project began, two phases were
combined which shaved one year off.
After that, work accelerated and was completed in an impressive four
years and five months.
Hendrickson says, “Although the mission to our members is
complete, there are still many who need access to high-speed internet and we’re
committed to seeing this through. Now,
we will begin filling in the gaps and fulfilling grant obligations in
We’re thankful to the many who have helped with our mission
and have chosen to continue with us for the next mission.
We want to see communities, members, schools, and small
businesses thrive; and for all who need or want reliable, high-speed internet
to have access to it.
ecoLINK By the Numbers:
4,153 miles of fiber
14, 363 installations
22 fiber huts
· 90 net promoter score