Co-op Fiber Project to Improve Reliability

Fiber Network

A partnership announced between Delaware Electric Cooperative and Lightower Fiber Networks will improve reliability for Co-op members in Central and Southern Delaware.

Lightower Fiber Networks is currently installing a 250-mile all fiber network across the Cooperative’s service territory in Kent and Sussex Counties. The new fiber network will provide communication to the utilities’ substations, electrical equipment and its headquarters building in Greenwood.

The entire electrical system now relies on the ability of Co-op engineers to quickly communicate with connected devices in the field. These devices can, in some cases, isolate electrical problems and restore power. They also alert employees to possible issues with the system that could lead to outages.

Lightower’s broadband service will allow the Cooperative to communicate with these remote devices faster, leading to faster power restoration and shorter outages. The fiber will also provide DEC with one secure network connecting all electrical devices without the use of an internet connection. Engineers will be able to efficiently communicate with electrical equipment in the field and, in many cases, quickly identify the cause of power outages.

Bill Andrew, President and CEO of Delaware Electric Cooperative said, “How do we turn the lights back on faster for members during a hurricane or blizzard? We need fast, secure, reliable and scalable communication and Lightower will be able to provide the Co-op with these capabilities.” 

Not only will this partnership provide Delaware Electric Cooperative with immediate benefits, the project will also help the Cooperative expand its technical capabilities in the future. As a result of the new fiber network, reliability projects will be expanded and cameras and security equipment may be added across the system.

After the new network is completed in early 2017, broadband providers will have the option to purchase additional fiber lines owned by Lightower, which could expand affordable broadband service to rural areas of Delaware.