EMPOWER Broadband has taken a giant leap toward fulfilling its promise to bring world-class internet access to Virginians in rural Southside communities. EMPOWER, with assistance from Magellan Broadband, its owner-engineer, has secured the services of National OnDemand, Inc. for the main line construction of its massive fiber-optic buildout.

National OnDemand, based in Burlington, N.C., delivers industry-leading expertise to the construction of both aerial and underground fiber plant, and has built a solid reputation for safely and successfully completing major fiber deployment projects.

EMPOWER and National OnDemand signed a contract for the three-year project on Sept. 9 at Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative headquarters in Chase City, Va.

“EMPOWER was looking for a partner that could get the job done in a timely, efficient and professional manner,” said EMPOWER President and CEO John C. Lee Jr., “but also one that shares our core values of safety, integrity, reliability, service and a commitment to excellence. National OnDemand comes highly recommended, has a stellar reputation, and we are very pleased to partner with them and get this historical project underway.”

With the procurement of this highly reputable construction firm, EMPOWER continues its aggressive yet efficient march toward fiber deployment across southern Virginia.

National OnDemand has deployed thousands of miles of fiber and connected tens of thousands of homes and businesses to high-speed internet across the country. National OnDemand has leased the old Sherwood Foods building on South Main Street in Chase City for their base of operations and the storage of material, vehicles and equipment for the project.

National OnDemand’s CEO, Douglas Boteler, commented, “National OnDemand is proud to be a part of EMPOWER’s fiber buildout. We will immediately bring to bear our expertise and resources in providing fiber solutions, coupled with our experience in partnering with electric cooperatives, to deliver fiber to communities across Southside Virginia. National OnDemand has prepared for the rapid addition and expansion of broadband infrastructure across the country, and we are excited to be partnering with EMPOWER on this project. We at National OnDemand are uniquely suited to assist EMPOWER in meeting the growing needs of EMPOWER and its rural customers in a timely manner.”

Over the next three years, EMPOWER, a subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, will continue fiber deployment and operate a 3,000-mile high-speed fiber network, passing 30,000 homes and businesses. The massive project is part of the $154 million combined grant and match funding awarded to EMPOWER and the Southside Planning District Commission to provide world-class broadband to thousands in Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.

—Report by Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative