White River Valley Electric Cooperative is moving forward with a plan to implement high-speed fiber optic internet to the five southwest Missouri counties it serves, including Ozark County.
According to a news release from the cooperative, the WRVEC board of directors made a resolution last week to proceed with the fiber internet project.
A representative of WRVEC is scheduled to give an update on the project to county commissioners during their regular weekly meeting at 9 a.m. Aug. 8 in the commissioners office in the upstairs level of the Ozark County Courthouse in Gainesville.
The Ozark County Times first reported the proposal in December when WRVEC representatives presented the plan to Ozark County Commissioners.
At the time, WRVEC was looking for a $10 million commitment from the five counties it serves, which would include a $1.4 million commitment from Ozark County.
Ozark County Commissioners voted recently to allocate up to $1 million to the project, with the stipulation that all WRVEC customers who live in Ozark County have access to the high-speed internet once the project is completed.
“We still plan to participate and allocate money to the project,” said Presiding County Commissioner John Turner. “We just want to ensure that all of White River’s customers have access to this high speed internet once the project is done … even if they live four miles down a county road.”
Turner said commissioners plan to have the county attorney write up an agreement with WRVEC before any money is given. The money the county plans to give to the project is part of American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding the county received for covid-19 relief.
The overall project would cost WRVEC about $232 million and would take about five years to complete.
“We look forward to building a world-class fiber network that will transform our rural communities just as our founders did with electric 83 years ago.” Said Chris Hamon, CEO of WRVEC.
WRVEC recommended that members ensure contact information is up-to-date. Quick account access is obtained through the SmartHub mobile app or desktop website. Account accuracy will make it easier for WRVEC to share details about the project with members once they have been finalized – such as location, availability and timelines.
Commissioners meet at 9 a.m. every Monday on the second floor of the Ozark County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public.