As a small boy that grew up across the street from the First Baptist Church, I can remember when the church bells would ring on the hour. There was no need for a watch, because you knew by the bells when momma expected you home for dinner. I have the fondest memories of riding my bike across town to the Pantry on a hot summer's day to get a slushy and then head to Grandma’s house on Butler Street. She had a window A/C unit in the dining room that I would sit in front of, just to cool off. As a teenager, I went to the local high school and fell in love with my future wife. We went to college together, married, and raised two boys in our community. I have been blessed to have been able to experience the small-town life of Calhoun County. These experiences and memories are what make this area special.
As an employee and CEO of Tri-County Electric Cooperative I have been blessed to not only grow up in this community, but also have the enjoyment of working in and for this community. I have also experienced the challenges of living in a rural community. Some of these challenges are due to the digital divide that has been created by the lack of infrastructure investment by the large cable and telephone companies. This lack of service is similar to the 1930’s when the large power companies would not run electricity to the rural communities which created a social and economic divide within our area. This was solved by the electric cooperative movement. So, it is only fitting that now the issue of a digital divide will be solved by your Cooperative. In October of 2020, Tri-County began the construction of a fiber to the home network. Our goal was to bring true high speed internet and voice service to all of Calhoun County. In a little over 6 months we have constructed over 650 miles of fiber and provided access to over 2,000 citizens of our county. By the fall of 2021, citizens from Sandy Run to Lone Star areas of Calhoun County will have fiber connectivity.
It is my sincere belief that reliable and fast internet service is critical to the future of our community. A fiber to home network brings an unlimited amount of benefits to everyone at the speed of light. Moms and dads can work from home, schools can offer at home learning, and you can even go to the doctor without leaving your house through telemedicine. Small businesses can now operate more efficiently and sell products through the internet. This can all be done while saving the homeowner money on their monthly bills. In the past a homeowner would pay about $90.00 to $100.00 for phone and basic DSL service. They would also need a satellite TV provider at a monthly cost of $140 to $200. Now with fiber you can have faster internet service and stream all the TV channels for less than $100 per month. Faster and more reliable service at a better price are the true benefits of fiber.
For the last 81 years Tri-County has connected its members to the community through providing reliable electricity. Through hurricanes and ice storms our employees have kept these homes and businesses connected. Now we move into this new era of providing that same dedication to connecting Calhoun County to fiber. This fiber will provide everyone the ability to stay connected. These connections are key to a vibrant community. That is why we are proud sponsors of Calhoun Connects, because we want customers to have access to information that can help them engage with our community and be a part of building the good life in The Place We Call “Home,” Calhoun County, SC.
Chad T. Lowder, CEO
Tri-County Electric Cooperative