For years, residents in Carroll County have dealt with poor internet service and poor cellphone service. However, the majority of the county will see some relief as Delta Electric rolls out its new internet service, Delta LightSpeed.
Delta Electric’s David O’Bryan and Harold Pitman met with the board of supervisors Monday morning and explained the new internet service. Delta Electric along with 14 other co-ops was awarded a $65 million dollar grant to install broadband internet. The service will be mainly in Carroll County and a portion of Grenada County.
He said the service will be fiber to home, so instead of underground fiber optic cables, they will be connected to the lines and will be transmitted by a substation. In Carroll County, it will be hooked to the Carrollton Substation.
O’Bryan said the service will be faster than DHL and will be affordable.
“I think people will be surprised at how affordable our prices will be,” O’Bryan said.
He said they are still working on price points but the goal is affordability.
He said Delta Electric has been working on this project for two-and-a-half years, but because they have a low density of customers, he said it wouldn’t have been able to stand on its own. He said the legislature came to Delta Electric and asked them to submit a plan and 15 co-ops responded.
The funding for this project comes from the CARES Act, where legislators set aside $75 million for the projects. $65 million of the money was earmarked for electric co-ops and $10 million was set aside for others such as CSpire.
“They only submitted a proposal for $1.5 million, so they’re money is going back into the pot,” O’Bryan said.
He said they asked for $4.9 million and were awarded $4.4 million. “We’ve applied and we’re hoping to get $500,000 more.”
He said the way the area was chosen to receive service was through Census Blocks. “We took the FCC internet service map and laid it across our map and it showed us the most unserved and underserved areas.”
Even though Carroll County is the target area, every part of Carroll County is not included. It will not be available to residents in Carrollton or North Carrolton because they are served by Entergy. It’s also not available to those who live along Highway 82, Vaiden, and the southern portion of the county toward the Holmes and Attala County lines.
It will be available to some who live along the Grenada County and a small portion who live near the Montgomery County line may not receive the service either. But, those don't live in the area shouldn’t get discouraged. O’Bryan said even though it may not be initially offered to your area, still register indicating that you would like the service.
“If we see that a lot of people from an area that’s not in our service area right now would like the service, that shows us a need,” O’Bryan said.
Vee Grays, a resident, and spokeswoman for County Road 75 said they have several families who are opting for distance learning. She said many of the families who live in the area of County Road 75 near the Holmes and Leflore County lines do not get any service.
“We can get satellite, but if it rains, the wind blows too hard, if it’s cloudy it goes out and we really need a better service,” she said. “I represent 30 families and school is starting soon. We get nothing, nothing.”
She said many cellular services won’t come to their area because they live on gravel roads and they’re afraid they’re going to get lost.
Charles Humphreys asked O’Bryan how they decided who would get the service because a lot of areas in Carroll County who need the service aren’t included. O’Bryan said they chose the area by Census Blocks. He also asked if Delta Electric could add customers on, utilizing their own money.
O’Bryan said the only way they could increase the coverage area is the hope of a third stimulus package. “Call your local legislator and Congressman and push for the third stimulus package to go through, we need it,” he said.
“You gotta start somewhere,” O’Bryan said. “And we’re just glad to be getting started.”