Choptank Fiber Connects Members in Somerset County
DENTON – Choptank Electric Cooperative and its subsidiary, Choptank Fiber, held a ribbon cutting celebration as they close out the 90-member Demo Project and open high speed broadband internet service to another 65 members in Somerset County on Thursday, January 6, 2022.
Local elected officials, members of the community, and Choptank representatives gathered at the Hawkes Corner in Princess Anne at 4pm to celebrate the milestone and make the announcement of offering 2.5 gigabit speed service to our residential customers.
In addition to the announcement of future service to more members, Choptank Electric also formally signed an agreement with leaders in Somerset County to partner on a new grant that will result in near-universal broadband service to residents in the county over the next three years.
Notable participants from the more than two dozen VIPs on hand for the ribbon cutting included Somerset County Commissioners Randy Laird, Eldon Willing and Craig Mathies; State Senator Mary Beth Carozza and Delegate Charles Otto; Choptank Electric Cooperative Board members Jeff Rathell and Donna West; Grayson Middleton, representing Governor Larry Hogan; Melissa Kelly from the Office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen; and Mike Arentz from the office of Congressman Andy Harris.
Jeff Rathell, Chairman of Board, thanked staff and the elected officials for their commitment to broadband for the resident of Somerset County. “While this project has just begun, we are thrilled to be partnering with officials and staff here in Somerset County to make this happen.”
Craig Mathies, President of the Somerset County Commissioners and Somerset County Representative for Choptank Electric Cooperative also spoke saying, “Broadband is vital to economic development and building our communities here in Somerset County…It’s important for our children and students who need to access virtual learning. This will open up so many opportunities for our residents; this is what we need, and I want to thank all of you for your hard work.”
Delegates and representatives also had input. Del. Charles Otto is a proud member, and said, “I have been a Choptank Cooperative member my entire life and I am proud that we are providing broadband service in rural areas where it is desperately needed.”
“The partnership between Somerset County and Choptank Fiber are exactly what Governor Hogan had in mind when he announced new funding for broadband earlier this year,” said Grayson Middleton, from the Office of Governor Larry Hogan about the broadband initiative from the state.
Choptank Fiber was founded in 2021 at the request of the Cooperative’s members. Choptank Fiber is currently providing internet service to households in Caroline, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. The broadband company expects to connect 1,000-1,500 locations annually to meet the needs of unserved residents on the Eastern Shore.