Helping Bridge the Digital Divide

In the 1930s, when rural North Carolinians wanted the life-changing power that electrification brought, they formed electric cooperatives like Piedmont Electric Cooperative and built it themselves. Today, that life-changing power is high-speed broadband internet access.

RiverStreet Networks
Piedmont Electric members,
Many homes, farms and businesses in our communities do not have adequate access to broadband service. Every week we hear stories from our members about how students can’t complete their homework, families can’t connect to distant relatives, seniors can’t access telemedicine and businesses can’t connect to the services they need to grow and thrive.

That’s why Piedmont Electric is piloting a partnership with RiverStreet Networks to expand high-speed internet into our unserved and underserved communities. RiverStreet is an affiliate of Wilkes Communications, a North Carolina based telephone cooperative who shares Piedmont Electric’s unique cooperative model and our commitment to supporting our members.

For more than 80 years we have supplied you with top notch electrical service while RiverStreet and Wilkes Communication have more than 60 years of experience providing exceptional telecommunication services. Together we will help connect members who have inadequate internet access to affordable, reliable and fast service they need.

For the last three years, Piedmont Electric has been building a fiber-optic system to connect our offices, substations and equipment in the field. This network helps us provide better electric service to you every day.

Once completed, it is this system that will also provide the backbone for RiverStreet who will supply members, where wireless signals can reach, with quality, high-speed internet. It won’t happen overnight though. While we cannot promise that everyone can access this technology, our goal is to reach as many unserved and underserved members as possible.

RiverStreet Networks is currently seeking federal grants and loans in order to conduct engineering studies. If you are interested in better internet, it is important that you show your interest by visiting so that we can show the federal government that our communities are asking for their help.

Member demand coupled with member location and network technology will determine where and when RiverStreet provides service*.

Our partnership allows us to help bring a high-speed internet solution to our members.

We are excited to partner with RiverStreet in order to provide this critical need. While we know it will take years to mature, we are happy to announce this first step to help bridge the digital divide.
Stephen B. Hamlin, General Manager and CEO

*The rollout will occur where interest from members justifies the build out cost. The service will not be available to all members immediately. However, as the network and technology grows our goal is to connect as many unserved and underserved members as possible. The first phase will be wireless internet service only followed by a future phase with high-speed fiber to the home for internet, entertainment and phone services where financially viable.

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