By Alyssa Schnugg
North East Mississippi Electric Power Association will be holding a public meeting to discuss the new Broadband Enabling Act and what it could mean to association members.
The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 4 at the Oxford Conference Center on Ed Perry Boulevard.
North East will develop a plan to conduct a feasibility and affordability study and share what happens next in the process.
Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act into law last month after it passed both the House and Senate.
The Act removes an old law that banned electrical cooperatives from offering broadband internet services.
All internet carriers are still be allowed to serve any rural community they choose. The Act now allows electrical cooperatives to offer the service.
Keith Hayward, general manager of North East Mississippi Electric Power Association, said he will provide information on what the new law means and what the next steps are to start exploring the feasibility of NEMEPA offering broadband service.
“We’re going to talk grants and what is out there and what the Tennessee Valley Authority has to say about all this,” he said.
Hayward said since the law was put into effect he has been getting calls and emails from customers asking when NEMEPA was going to provide internet – and from people wanting to sign up.
“I tell them to be patient,” he said. “We don’t even know if we can do this yet.”