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East Central Energy holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for fiber service

East Central Energy held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the cooperative's first members to receive fiber internet services on Friday morning.

According to ECE Vice President Ty Houglum, about 275 members are connected to the co-op's fiber network.

On Dec. 14, the first ECE member was hooked up to the fiber service in the Dalbo area.

Houglum said that as of the first quarter of 2024, 850 miles of fiber has been completed.

Construction on the fiber project began in the second quarter of 2023, starting with the replacement of 1,035 poles. Drop construction started in September of 2023.

Braham, Dalbo, and parts of Cambridge were the first communities opened to ECE's fiber service orders. Houglum said orders in Ogilvie and Pine City will also be open in early 2024.

The cooperative has successfully received $19 million in grant funding for the fiber project, with $24 million pending.

ECE President and CEO Justin Jahnz thanked the cooperative's staff for their dedication to the project, and the community, local, and state leaders for their continued support.

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