Choptank Fiber Connects Members in Worcester County
Choptank Electric Cooperative and its subsidiary, Choptank Fiber, held a ribbon cutting for its first customers connected to its high-speed internet service in Worcester County on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
Local elected officials, members of the community and Choptank representatives gathered at the Holland family’s Chesapeake Bay Dairy to celebrate the milestone and enjoy locally produced ice cream. Expert staff were available to review important information about Choptank Fiber and help community members enroll in service.
Laura Holland, owner of the ice cream operation, said she was thrilled with Choptank Fiber’s broadband service. “Since they connected our service last Friday, the kids haven’t stopped using it.” She said. “I’ve been telling our neighbors how fast everything is when you get online – there is no waiting or spinning - items come up instantly.”
Mike Malandro, President and CEO of Choptank Electric Cooperative thanked members and staff of the Worcester County Commission for their commitment to broadband for the residents of the county. “This project is the start of internet connection for many unserved households on the lower Shore,” he explained. “Working together, we look forward to giving rural families and businesses - like the Holland’s dairy - access to reliable internet so their operation can continue to develop here in Worcester County.”
On behalf of the County Commissioners, President Joe Mitrecic offered, “Developing the fiber backbone to make broadband available to every home and business in Worcester County remains a top priority of the County Commissioners,” he said. “The Choptank project to install a mix of aerial and underground fiber is part of an aggressive, three-year initiative to prioritize the extension of broadband to all underserved and unserved areas within Worcester in the next three years.”
Commissioners Ted Elder, Diana Purnell and Josh Nordstrom helped kick-off the event with Choptank Board Chairman Jeff Rathell, and Board members Donna Richardson West, Amy Ireland Brandt, and Matt Holloway.
Choptank Fiber will install gigabit-speed service for up to 35 families in this initial build-out. Choptank staff are contacting eligible customers to finalize installation plans along Whitesburg Road, Dividing Creek Road, Ferry Branch Lane, McMaster Road and a small portion of Worcester Highway. This is an expansion of Choptank Fiber’s Somerset County buildout that has been under construction for the last three months, offering service to more than 60 families near Princess Anne.
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 1000-1500 locations annually to meet the needs of unserved residents on the Eastern Shore.