Escambia County Resoliciting Proposals For North Escambia Residential Fiber Internet

December 12, 2022

Escambia County is resoliciting bids for a company to provide fiber internet to North Escambia homes and county facilities.

The county originally accepted proposals to provide fiber to homes north of 10 Mile Road and approved entering into a memorandum of understanding with Escambia River Electric Cooperative. Cox Communications retained a law firm and filed a formal protest against the award.

The proposal from EREC included only their electric franchise territory, an area essentially north of Barrineau Park Road. As a member owned electric cooperative, EREC would provide fiber internet service to all 4,000 plus homes and businesses in their territory. Cox submitted a proposal to provide broadband internet to about 2,500 homes in unspecified areas north of 10 Mile Road.

The New Request

In the new solicitation, Escambia County is seeking a company to provide the high speed broadband in area from Muscogee Road/Becks Lake Road north to the Alabama state line.

In addition to providing broadband services in unserved and underserved areas of the northern part of the county, the county is seeking an estimated 104 miles of fiber to serve 40 county facilities in the geographic region. The broadband service must be capable of achieving symmetrical residential speeds of 1 GB or greater.

The “leading-edge” broadband services” must also list retail prices and include a rate cap for residential customers for the first three years after connection and specify a maximum annual increase percentage.

Escambia County is committing up to $10 million American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the project, with the company owning and operating the network.

Proposals are due by December 22.

Escambia County has committed another $12 million in a second phase for a future fiber to the home buildout and service to county buildings to the south.


EREC Proposal

Under their original proposal, EREC requested $6 million from the county toward a $24 million project. They proposed fiber internet to some 4,000 plus homes and businesses — every single home and business in their footprint — and a fiber ring connecting about two dozen county facilities.  The first homes would receive service as early as next summer.

Three basic speed tiers proposed by EREC were:

  • 100 Mbps/100 Mbps — $49.95/month
  • 1 Gig/1 Gig — $79.95/month
  • 2 Gig/2 Gig — $99.95/month

Cox Proposal

In their original proposal, Cox requested the county provide $16.3 million toward a $24.4 million project to construct a 132 mile fiber ring to 44 county facilities and provide fiber internet to 2,514 “underserved” households. Their proposed timeline was 18-36 months to complete the residential portion, with 36 total months needed to ring the county facilities.

Cox proposed package pricing as follows:

  • 100 Mbps/100 Mbps — $49.99/month
  • 250 Mbps/250 Mbps — $87.99/month
  • 500 Mbps/500 Mbps — $99.99/month
  • 1 Gig/1 Gig — $119.99/month
  • 2 Gig/2 Gig — $149.99/month


26 Responses to “Escambia County Resoliciting Proposals For North Escambia Residential Fiber Internet”

  1. Whut? on December 14th, 2022 8:20 pm

    And BTW, I will continue to live in the boonies because I love it.

    It’s worth the premium for me.

  2. Whut? on December 14th, 2022 8:09 pm

    At some point, folks like us who live in the Styx made the choice to live away from the hubub and people. That meant that other people helped pay for us to get telephone, cable, water, power– all of the things that make life more enjoyable. That’s right –it was socialism. Spreading the cost among everybody.

    Now y’all want to complain about not being connected like everyone else in town.

    I thought you lived in the woods because you are independent and stand on your own two legs?

    You can’t have it both ways. Living in the world means making choices, and if you choose to live in the boonies, your options get limited. Unless you want to embrace a socialist model. Make your choice and own it.

  3. Jlb on December 14th, 2022 12:40 pm

    Time for some competition. Sounds like cox is having a tantrum…wish AT&T would get moving on fiber optics. More competition..better for consumers. EREC..good luck.

  4. bobk on December 14th, 2022 12:28 pm

    Cox business practices, prices, and everything about the company is suspect. We’ve had problems with them forever. Last episode you may find interesting. We were without Internet for two days. I called to see if there was an outage of course there was no outage. That’s not what the guy on the ladder from Cox cable outside said. reset the router and modem and all was good.
    Woman on the phone with Cox cable wanted to send out a text I told him do not send anybody to my house and no I will not buy a new modem from you. We got an email within the hour stating the new charges for the new equipment we ordered. I let my wife handle the phone call back to Cox to explain to them how it was going to work.

  5. Candace Mckim on December 13th, 2022 7:38 pm

    Our county commissioners need to use come common sense and save money. Most people south of Nine Mile Rd has access to internet. Period irregardless of the cost. The people up in North Escambia county do not have access. Spectrum does not reach that far north. Frontier is absolutely horrible and outdated. EREC had the best bid, and will serve those who can not get internet anywhere at this time. What is there to question? So tired of the greedy companies thinking they have the right to become more greedy and not serve those who need the internet

  6. Citizen on December 13th, 2022 12:09 am

    Looks to me like the original procurement process, even though BCC voted to wave the blackout period and make the BCC the first selection committee, pwas challenged by Cox.
    It looks to me rather than stay in a lawsuit with Cox, they just are going through another expedited procurement process and since time is of essence with the ARP grants this will be moving right along first of the year, to who the county decides to award the bid.
    Probably won’t be Cox.

  7. katherine on December 12th, 2022 10:32 pm

    Soooooo, isn’t Myrtle Grove considered to be NORTH Escambia County where a lot of retirees and Seniors dwell? Paying $60 a month JUST for the Internet is not easy each Social Security time, buttttt last I heard, AT&T was putting in fiber optic below ground, but not on the north end of Talladega Trail??? We will continue to suffer in silence, but not for toomuch longer.

  8. Well on December 12th, 2022 9:02 pm

    Makes sense
    Give Cox more money to do less than EREC and then they charge the end user more.

    Or try
    Have to stick with T Mobile internet at that point. Not great not terrible.

  9. JJ on December 12th, 2022 7:44 pm

    Allow Erec have everything north of Baraneau Park Rd.(C.R.196) period!

  10. Willene Bryan on December 12th, 2022 6:12 pm

    NO TO COX!!! EREC is the one to go with. Can’t believe you are even considering Cox with their prices.Don’t let money persuade you to do the wrong thing for the North End of County.

  11. Anita Geinert on December 12th, 2022 5:39 pm

    The County should put in the proposal that the fee can only be inflated a certain percentage each year over a ten year period. I have been very unhappy with the way the Cox bill continues to escalate at a high rate. My bill originally started in the 80s but went to 280 over the course of 5 years – with no changes on my part.

  12. And You Thought Frontier was Bad on December 12th, 2022 2:49 pm

    Sadly, what we’ll see is Cox lawyering up and outspending EREC on the legality of it all and they’ll end up winning the contract despite common sense most would see in the EREC proposal versus what Cox has presented. Unless the commission finds a way around some of the legalese, we’ll end up with Cox because that’s the way politics and contracts work.

  13. Northend Resident on December 12th, 2022 12:08 pm

    District 5 Commissioner, Steven Berry, I suggest you listen to your constituents. Seems the majority doesn’t want the high priced FOR profit Cox Cable when they can have a reputable, not for profit, less expensive service from EREC. Try not to let money talk this time. Do the right thing. NO TO COX!

  14. John Bone Jones on December 12th, 2022 11:46 am

    i don’t think they’re going to find any carrier who can meet the entire scope of work and be affordable. the investment its going to take to bring fiber to the area they are requesting is going to be very very high. unless the carrier wants to take the hit and just be happy with a very long ROI.

  15. Leslie on December 12th, 2022 11:25 am

    Do the “powers that be” ever read these comments? It’s obvious that Cox seems to be a problem. Alot of the North-enders have spoken about wanting EREC. Doesn’t our requests matter since we are the ones in question?

  16. All About Money on December 12th, 2022 11:19 am

    This is so obviously financially motivated. EREC is better in every category. They said they estimate they’d have infrastructure in place quicker, they’re cheaper up front to the county, and the citizens. If COX wins the “bid”, somebody got paid off.

  17. My2Cents on December 12th, 2022 10:42 am

    This is a no brainer…EREC!!!!

    Please say no to Cox. They are expensive and their customer service is subpar.

  18. Northern Flash on December 12th, 2022 9:53 am

    If Cox gets after the award was EREC I will not change my carrier. Period. All others were to high for.senior.citizens. Leave thing as are, I know money talk and we get screwed in the long run.

  19. Mike in the Can on December 12th, 2022 9:52 am

    Please don’t make me have to use COX for fiber. I can barely afford the power bill as it is now and if COX gets the contract you can count on their already high prices and fees and service charges to just keep going up. They are worse than the cellular charges that just keep going up for no reason.

  20. Wayne on December 12th, 2022 9:29 am

    Cox…leave the country…NOW

  21. Jokers on December 12th, 2022 9:23 am


  22. tg on December 12th, 2022 8:25 am

    Its back to Two Tin Cans And A String.

  23. Oversight on December 12th, 2022 8:00 am

    Go with which one, for profit Cox or not for profit EREC? This should not even be in debate, right? Look at their original bids; they are no where near one another in any category, including service area and price. EREC with 4,000 households for $6 Million and ready in less than a year. Cox with 2,500 households for $16 Million and likely closer to three years before they’ll provide service. Now that the bids are public, it’ll be interesting to see how Cox adjusts its bid, since it has got to see what EREC can do for much fewer $$. I say, go with the one that gives both customer and taxpayer the biggest bang for the buck. That would be EREC hands down.

  24. Byrneville on December 12th, 2022 7:50 am

    Just to set the record straight, I will not be signing on with Cox or any other company except Escambia River Electric Coop. I know from experience that EREC is a reputable organization. However, I have heard nothing but bad reviews on Cox. Just yesterday, I saw a message come across my TV screen that Cox was threatening to remove channel 5 from their lineup of stations offered. Don’t let Cox bully our county into giving them the contract! Make your opinion known! Go with only EREC!

  25. Should've Kept Dial-up on December 12th, 2022 7:39 am

    No free wifi for you….. Pay to play

  26. Preston Bryan on December 12th, 2022 6:49 am

    We don’t need cox they are twice as high as EREC from the get go

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