Eastern Illini Electric Co-op and Nextlink Internet Sign Strategic Alliance to Enhance Broadband Internet Service in East Central Illinois
HUDSON OAKS, Texas and PAXTON, Illinois – Nextlink Internet, an internet service provider focused on rural communities across the central United States, and Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative (EIEC), whose mission is providing members with safe, reliable energy solutions and exceptional service, today announced they have signed a strategic alliance agreement that will bring enhanced broadband, phone, and electric services to residential and business consumers across a 10-county region in east central Illinois. Under this new agreement, Nextlink and EIEC will work together to expand broadband services for the region.
Additionally, Nextlink will concurrently roll out extensive IoT (Internet of Things) network coverage in east central Illinois to facilitate the use of IoT devices to serve the agricultural sector.
Related to the agreement, Nextlink Internet will construct a fiber-optic network over 400 miles in length through the EIEC service area as well as pervasive wireless internet coverage providing internet download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and up to 1 Gbps in certain areas. Expect to see internet service from Nextlink to become available over much of east central Illinois in early 2022.
“Nextlink Internet is committed to serving rural markets with the highest internet speeds possible along with great customer service,” said Bill Baker, Chief Executive Officer of Nextlink Internet. “With its long-standing history of providing electric service to its members, we felt that EIEC’s mission and focus on customer service aligned perfectly with Nextlink’s approach to providing high speed internet and phone service.”
“We look forward to working with Nextlink Internet through this mutually beneficial agreement,” said Bob Hunzinger, President/CEO at EIEC. “We are excited to work with Nextlink to expand and upgrade the broadband internet service options available to our members.”
Beyond the benefits to the local economy and consumers, the agreement also provides a new business model for how innovative broadband providers like Nextlink can partner with the nation’s electric cooperatives to bring urban-quality internet service to more rural areas. Nextlink recently joined the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to become a closer working partner with the co-op sector.
Richard Harnish, Director Business Development for Nextlink, invited other cooperatives to consider similar arrangements. “This is just the first of many such agreements we hope to strike with co-ops in the months and years ahead,” he said. “This is a workable business model that will deliver rapid and meaningful benefits for co-ops, their members, and their communities.”
About Nextlink Internet
Nextlink Internet is a rural-focused provider of high-speed internet and phone services in Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. The company is a fully IP-based, carrier-class network from core to edge with approximately 80,000 customers, more than 850 team members, and extensive fiber and wireless infrastructure. As an active participant in the Federal Communications Commission’s programs to close the digital divide, Nextlink is working to rapidly connect thousands of additional homes, schools, libraries and businesses in small communities across 11 states. For more information: nextlinkinternet.com.
About Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative
Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative (EIEC) is a member-owned business based in Paxton, Ill. that supplies and distributes electricity to approximately 12,000 consumers in 10 counties throughout east central Illinois. EIEC operates and maintains over 4,500 miles of energized lines, and its mission is to provide its members with safe, reliable energy solutions and exceptional service. Learn more at www.eiec.coop.
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