Sep 27, 2023
When Prince George Electric Cooperative’s wholly owned fiber subsidiary, RURALBAND, embarked on a mission to build a fiberoptic network across its electric distribution system in 2017, it did so with members like Monica Gilchrist in mind.
As a Surry County resident, Gilchrist recalls driving to the local library just to have adequate internet access – and she wasn’t alone. The necessity of broadband predated the COVID-19 pandemic in Dinwiddie, Prince George, Sussex, Isle of Wight, and Surry Counties – leaving many to rely on myfis and cellular phone data plans for their internet connection.
PGEC’s President & CEO, Sarat Yellepeddi, underscores how the lack of broadband access not only impacts the quality of life for members today but also the quality of life for the future generations of members to come. “As an electric cooperative, we are always thinking about how we can better serve the needs of members to enhance their quality of life,” Yellepeddi explained.
Gilchrist says that RUALBAND’s high-speed service makes it easier for homes, churches, schools, and local businesses to communicate locally and worldwide. “We can work from home, shop online, pay bills, play games, watch movies, and so much more thanks to the type of service RURALBAND provides.”
As an educator and student, Gilchrist also expresses how critical RURALBAND has been in improving educational opportunities. “Working in the Surry County Public School system, I can say that RURALBAND has been a great asset not only to our community but for this county,” she explains. “On a more personal note, RURALBAND has allowed me to continue my personal development and take online classes in the comfort of my home without having to use hotspots or heading to the library. Those options were great, except during inclement weather.”
Gilchrist says that regardless of the weather, RURALBAND allows her to easily access the world wide web.
RURALBAND remains committed to its mission and continues to invest in the infrastructure build for not only members like Monica Gilchrist but also to the neighboring communities where this service is equally required. The subsidiary’s management and board of directors are committed to providing this essential service just as the previous generations of co-op members did when power was not available.
Members are encouraged to sign up for RURALBAND by visiting RURALBAND.coop.
About Prince George Electric Cooperative:
Prince George Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Waverly, Virginia is a not-for-profit member-owned energy provider serving more than 12,000 homes, farms, and businesses in Dinwiddie, Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, and the town of Waverly. Chartered in 1939 to provide electric service to farms, the co-op today serves as a community partner and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its members throughout the diverse communities it serves. Prince George Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For more information, visit www.pgec.coop.
RURALBAND is the wholly owned fiber subsidiary of Prince George Electric Cooperative, created to manage and operate the fiber-to-the-home network and service for cooperative members.