One of the big issues in Portland as technology has expanded in our world has been how to provide high speed internet to all of the citizens in Portland and the surrounding rural areas.

While many people receive their internet from Comcast or AT&T, there are areas in Portland that are still not served and places where neither of those providers were likely to find it financially feasible enough to run fiber optics or broadband there in the future.

A couple of years ago. Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation decided that it would take a foray into the world of fiber optics for its customers who were desired high speed internet action.

On Friday, the first testing of CEMC’s Cumberland Connect project, were tested in Dover, with plans to have phase one of the project completed by the end of the year. The Mitchellville substation that serves some customers in the Portland area is part of that phase one rollout.

“We are going live today with our first testers. We have the Mitchellville substation in our area. Our aggressive goal is to complete that substation by the end of 2020,” said Jennifer Brown of CEMC’s Cumberland Connect.

The fiber optics, once operational, will be available in 250 megabits per second up to a full gig of use, according to Brown.

There is one caveat to the service in the Mitchellville area. Those customers who are served by North Central Telephone Cooperative’s fiber optics will not have access to Cumberland Connect.

If you are served by North Central Telephone Cooperative, we cannot serve you, because we cannot overlap them.

For those who are interested in updates and potentially obtaining fiber optics from Cumberland Electric, they are encouraged to sign up for updates at www.cumberlandconnect.org

The first testing should give Cumberland Connect enough information and feedback to move the project forward.

“We had them agree to some terms that they were going to give us some feedback and help us with that project and go live. We should be done with phase one — our aggressive goal is to be done with phase one by the end of the year. It’s a five-to-six-year build-out overall,” Brown said. “The Mitchellville substation is part of phase one. If you are out of Mitchellville, you will be able to get service.”

The Portland and Fountain Head substations are part of phase two.

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