NHEC Board Moves to Create New Broadband Entity by NHEC | Jun 25, 2020 | Broadband, Uncategorized PLYMOUTH, NH (June 25, 2020) – Yesterday New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s (NHEC) Board of Directors voted unanimously to take the necessary steps to create a new separate entity to pursue funding opportunities and further the goal of providing high speed internet access to its members. Creating this new entity is the next step in NHEC’s efforts to expand high speed internet access, and will allow for greater focus and speed on developing broadband opportunities. The entity will be charged with pursuing federal, state and local funding opportunities, and developing strategic partnerships with the singular goal of bringing high speed internet access to NHEC’s members. Last week NHEC concluded its annual director election. This year NHEC members petitioned to add a ballot question adding “facilitating access to broadband internet for members” as one of the purposes for which the Co-op was formed. While the ballot question fell just short of achieving the two-thirds necessary for adoption, the strong support it received demonstrated member desire for NHEC to more aggressively pursue broadband. The Board also agreed to fund the new entity with up to $1 million in initial capital to support the initiative, and appointed Jeff Morrill, Vice Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors to spearhead the effort. In addition to his service with NHEC, Morrill leads business development and strategy for C Space, a Customer Agency. In this role, he helps companies find new ways to grow by collaborating with their customers. Morrill is an experienced manager with a track record of driving innovation and profitable growth at fortune 100 companies and new ventures. “The Board heard our members clearly: they want their electric cooperative to do more to bring them broadband,” said Tom Mongeon, Chair of NHEC’s Board of Directors. “This important vote is the next step in moving forward to bring high speed internet to the communities NHEC serves. Jeff’s diverse and entrepreneurial skill set uniquely qualifies him to move this exciting initiative forward.” Steve Camerino, president and CEO of NHEC said that “meeting our members’ needs is NHEC’s only focus, and the ability to access fast, reliable internet service is a critical need, now more than ever. In pursuing this initiative, we remain mindful that we must balance that need with our members’ reliance on NHEC as their electric service provider.” “We have started on a journey and it will take several years to achieve our goal, but this is an important step,” said Jeff Morrill, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and leader of the effort to create the new entity. “There is a lot of work to be done in a short amount of time, deadlines for the Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Expansion Program and the Rural Digital Opportunity Funds are quickly approaching and NHEC wants to make sure our members are well positioned to access any funding opportunities.” “We thank the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative board for responding so quickly to the crying need of its members who lack fast, reliable internet service,” said Richard Knox, spokesman for a group of NHEC members who petitioned the utility to add broadband to its stated purposes. “To have the board unanimously decide to form a broadband subsidiary – only days after the initiative garnered nearly two-thirds support in the Co-op’s annual election – speaks volumes about the viability of the cooperative model. And it couldn’t come at a more crucial time.” About New Hampshire Electric Cooperative NHEC is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative serving 84,000 homes and businesses in 115 New Hampshire communities. Headquartered in Plymouth, NH, our business is to keep, maintain and service our 5,500 miles of energized line in order to provide our members with the best possible service.