In the same way electric cooperatives turned the lights on for rural residents in the 1930s, they are now better connecting their communities to the world with broadband service.
Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association, headquartered in Lichtfield, Minnesota, is the latest Great River Energy member-owner cooperative to bring high-speed internet to its members.
“Rural areas are not failed urban areas,” said Walz, a Mankato resident who campaigned behind expanding broadband access across Greater Minnesota. “We have a quality of life that is unparalleled, a work ethic, strong schools and a desire to be here. The only thing holding us back is connectivity.”
That connectivity will now be available for Meeker’s nearly 9,000 members through its VIBRANT service.
More than 100 electric co-ops across the country are helping to bridge the digital divide for their local communities, including other Great River Energy member co-ops such as Arrowhead Cooperative, Cooperative Light & Power, East Central Energy, Lake Country Power and North Itasca Electric Cooperative.
By providing their members with access to high-speed internet, co-ops are also benefiting their communities with more economic development opportunities, medical care options and modern agriculture tools.