IBEC Exits BPL Business; Midwest Continues Search for Options

Several years ago Midwest Energy Cooperative partnered with International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc. (IBEC) to provide a high-speed internet option to  our members. Our business partners at IBEC introduced broadband over powerlines (BPL), a service delivered over our own electric distribution system that we believed would ultimately provide a reliable, turn-key, high-speed solution for members.

IBEC announced in December that it is exiting the BPL business after financial and technology issues prevented them from sustaining their business model. IBEC was a pioneer and remains the only company that utilized electric utility infrastructure for high-speed internet access. The approach was both proven and viable, but IBEC was not able to overcome a series of hurdles that would allow them to provide the backbone of service that Midwest expected on behalf of our members.

IBEC officially closed its doors on Jan. 16, 2012. Our staff worked with a small team of IBEC’s former leaders to utilize existing contracts and infrastructure to continue the active services until August. During that period and beyond, we will continue to seek other solutions to bridge the technology gap that exists in rural America. We know it is real and significantly impacts daily life. We haven’t given up on a long-term solution, and will continue to research, evaluate and test options to find a permanent and meaningful “high-speed” internet application that will last.

Telephone companies are building more DSL infrastructure; we encourage our members served through BPL to talk with local providers about availability. Also, air cards and mobile wireless options are becoming increasingly available and usable in different parts of our region. These don’t necessarily provide the level of reliability and service needed for the long term, but can serve as a temporary solution until a reliable and affordable long-term option becomes available.

We thank you for your understanding and patience. While this is certainly a discouraging development, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing innovations for life and solutions for living for our family of members.

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