Spotlight: Roanoke Connect and Community Wi-Fi
May 1, 2020
“We had to find a way to provide access immediately. Roanoke Connect made it happen.”
ROANOKE CONNECT & ROANOKE ELECTRIC CO-OP
When COVID-19 and social distancing came to North Carolina, Roanoke Electric Co-op knew they needed to find new ways to serve their member-owners. Providing power and broadband is an essential service, and their operations remained open. But what about their members?
“We knew many residents needed access to the internet during this pandemic for telemedicine appointments, working remotely, doing schoolwork, applying for jobs, or filing for unemployment benefits,” said Curtis Wynn, President and CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative. “But not everyone has that access from home – yet.”
Roanoke Electric’s subsidiary, Roanoke Connect, recently launched a Fiber-to-the-Home deployment – considered the gold standard of broadband connectivity. But with construction set to begin in October, homes wouldn’t be connected in time. “We had to find a way to provide access immediately,” said Wynn.
Crews worked with the engineering team at Vantage Point Solutions to immediately establish a free public Wi-Fi hot spot at Roanoke’s headquarters, then moved quickly to do the same at local churches and restaurants, cooperative substations, and several schools. “We wanted students and residents across the region to be able to simply drive up to these locations, stay in their cars and enjoy the benefit of a quality high-speed internet connection,” Wynn added.
“COVID-19 created challenges for connectivity. People needed access, and Roanoke Connect made it happen.”
Roanoke Electric Cooperative serves as an engine of economic development and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its member-owners throughout the communities it serves. Roanoke Connect, powered by Roanoke Electric Cooperative, provides broadband service to five North Carolina Counties.
Better Broadband means Better Lives. Vantage Point Solutions helps broadband providers deliver on this promise through start-to-finish engineering and consulting services tailored to the unique goals and needs of the companies and Cooperatives we work with.