Co-op gives Roanoke Connect project updates at RCPP2 meeting
The Roanoke-Chowan Partners for Progress Phase 2 (RCPP2) convened its quarterly meeting on Friday, June 9, at Roanoke Electric Co-op’s headquarters. RCPP2 is a local collaborative effort of community partners led by the co-op. Partners gathered to hear updates about one of the co-op’s most valued projects – Roanoke Connect.
The Roanoke Connect project is a 200-mile fiber build out that avails high-speed internet access in the region.
“Technology is a theme deeply embedded in the mission statement of RCPP2,” Marshall Cherry stated. “Today’s meeting truly speaks to what we are trying to progress in the community.”
Attendees were even able to demo the internet service during the meeting with their mobile devices.
Dr. Walter Lowe, native of Halifax County and Professor of Physics at Howard University, was the first guest speaker of the day. Lowe facilitates summer coding camps for youth in Halifax, Newport News, VA and Washington, DC through the ClassAide organization.
Lowe has a passion for youth in underrepresented areas to learn more about technology. “Many of our youth play computer games but never think about the opportunity to code and improve the games they play,” Lowe remarked. “The Roanoke Connect infrastructure excites me because it’ll give these kids the main resource needed to code these games.”
Curtis Wynn, president and CEO of the co-op, came up next. “We’re all about improving service and living up to our mission to improve the quality of life in our region.” “This is our main motivation behind the Roanoke Connect project.”
Wynn explained the co-op’s Smart Grid Infrastructure approach to the Roanoke Connect project. “This level of connectivity will allow us to do far more for our member-owners,” Wynn continued.
Namely, the co-op to offer products and services like Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, water heater controls and Roanoke Rewards online cash back incentives.
“Sixty-five percent of our costs are used to purchase power to resell to our member-owners,” Wynn said. “Many of these programs can help us to reduce this cost and retain affordable rates for our membership.”
Angie Bailey, of ECC Technologies, gave an update on the Phase 2 pilot of the Roanoke Connect project. Since the last meeting, member-owners have been testing the internet equipment. The co-op is currently in the middle of its 60-day pilot for the project’s internet service. The pilot period will run through July 15th.
Don Davis and JJ Boyd, of Skyrunner.net, also joined the meeting via web conference. “This technology will be capable of meeting the future needs of the region,” Davis stated. “This is why we’re excited to be a part of this partnership with Roanoke.”
The equipment is capable of providing up to 1 gigabit internet speed. Skyrunner will also be partnering with the co-op to offer broadband services to residents who may not be member-owners.
“For us to become the utility of the future, this level of connectivity is essential,” Wynn remarked.
RCPP2 partners are comprised of community residents, businesses, nonprofits, educational and faith-based institutions, and local governments. If an area business or organization wants to become a partner and for information on the group’s progress, please visit www.roanokecenter.org/rcpp2.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an electric utility providing service to 14,000 members in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan counties. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.