"JEC discovers big demand for Internet service" by: Mike Reddell

Sentinel photo/Mike Reddell
Jackson Electric Cooperative new office complex and warehouse on Texas 35 will be open in June. 

Jackson Electric Cooperative (JEC) is stepping up its mission to better serve its members. 
   JEC is about to open a new 22,000-square-foot office and warehouse complex on nearly 30 acres off Texas 35 between Bay City and Van Vleck. 
   JEC’s site will house one of the coop’s newest technology services for its estimated 8,000 electric members served by the Bay City division - “smart meters.” 
   “If members have an outage or significant voltage change, the meters will alert JEC,” said General Manager Jim Coleman. 
   “It’s a complete two-way system,” Jim says, adding the meters will enable JEC to help customers by pinpointing areas of high electric usage and how they might identify problems that are wasting energy. 
   Internet services are a major addition to JEC services in the Bay City center. 
   JEC-Bay City, in fact, will become the cooperative’s Internet, Fiber-optic, and Secure Data Center business headquarters - while the Edna division will continue as the electric and propane service headquarters. 
   As JEC was installing its metering system in Sargent – the first to be served by metering – the coop discovered the high demand for broadband internet access.  
   “We started with simple broadband from our metering towers, but quickly found the demand outstripped the supply. 
   “When we went to Sargent (for metering), we quickly were overwhelmed with demand for Internet,” Coleman explained. 
   “Members in Sargent wanted Internet video streaming that was chewing up all the bandwidth we had allocated,” he recalled. 

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