Over the past decade, as hundreds of billions of public dollars have been allocated to connect all Americans with reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access, most of the attention has been focused on building so-called “last mile” networks that connect homes and business to internet service providers. Less well-known is the “middle mile,” which connects local networks to the broader web—a particularly critical facet for rural areas located long distances from the main internet connection hubs.
As more and more electric cooperatives have gotten into the broadband space lately, many are finding it difficult to access reliable, affordable third-party middle-mile networks, and some of them are starting to take matters into their own hands.
To help explain the current challenges with middle mile and how co-ops are responding, we’re joined by Katie Culleton, NRECA legislative affairs director, and Steven Bandy, general manager of OzarksGo, the broadband subsidiary of Ozarks Electric Cooperative in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Listen to the episode below: