‘A Great Day For North Escambia’ — Fiber Internet Buildout Begins

June 2, 2023

Fields of corn line Bratt Road, not far from the power substation where nearby two new grain bins glisten brightly in the sun.

It’s the community of Bratt, home to Bratt Elementary and Northview High schools.

There’s a caution light at the four-way stop by the corner store. There’s often a good game of hoops going on, or people just walking, at the park — the Travis M. Nelson Park –built where Travis Nelson played as a child. The U.S. Marine was killed in Afghanistan a few years back.

It’s the slow life in rural North Escambia. And the internet, well, that’s even slower.

But in the next months, Bratt will be home to something else. New internet service, pretty much the fastest residential service available anywhere in Escambia County.

Escambia River Electric Cooperative (EREC), owned by the residents of Bratt, Walnut Hill, Jay — and the other communities in North Escambia and northern Santa Rosa County — has partnered with Conexon Connect to bring high speed fiber internet with speeds reaching 2 Gig up and down. Some of the fastest residential service in the county.

Over the past week or so, crews have started work, pulling fiber cable and attaching it to the power poles in Bratt. It will connect, and branch out to homes and businesses, from the power substations in Bratt and Walnut Hill. The first customers are expected to be connected by fall.

The price will range from about $50 to $100 a month for the fastest speed. A real game changer.

“We are very excited about this project,” Ryan Campbell, CEO of EREC, said Thursday. “It represents a tremendous commitment from EREC that will benefit members for generations to come.”

The member owned electric cooperative will spend north of $35 million on over 1,000 miles of fiber to every home and business in their service territory. Even where the houses are spaced out by miles down dirt roads.

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $2.6 million from the Broadband Opportunity Program for the fiber buildout. Escambia County has contributed $6.3 million from American Rescue Plan funds for the estimated $24 million for the 600 miles of fiber in Escambia County. (Escambia will, at a future date, contribute additional American Rescue Plan funds for a fiber project in the remainder of the county.) EREC will provide broadband internet service and additional “dark” fiber (without internet service) for all county owned facilities within the EREC footprint for two years at no additional cost to the county.

“I’m ecstatic to see the work begin, and could not be more thankful to my board for supporting the initiative, and for our tremendous partners EREC and Conexon for really hitting the ground running,” Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry said. “It’s a great day for North Escambia County.”

For more photos, click or tap here.

NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


9 Responses to “‘A Great Day For North Escambia’ — Fiber Internet Buildout Begins”

  1. Jethro on June 7th, 2023 7:51 pm

    It’s way past time for this to happen, I moved to Milton in 2005 from Brownsdale after that 2nd hurricane in 2 years and knowing I’d have high speed internet had a LOT to do with my decision. I’m very happy this is finally happening. My concern is, are they really going to hang all of this on light poles?? Seriously?? I understand it’s easier, the poles are already there, and cheaper. I’m just thinking long term and I don’t know why I’m 60 but I’m still very happy and excited for friends and family from Chumuckla to Jay woooooHooooo

  2. In the Bubble on June 4th, 2023 3:44 pm

    Happy to the ones “Finally” getting some internet. It’s kinda like when electricity eventually moved out of the city into the country.
    That being said, unfortunately for some residents in the north end, some still will not benefit from this “Roll out” It appears there is a bubble, where neither Erec nor Spectrum will service. Ironically, it is about a mile north of Molino Park Elementary School. Too far south for Erec, and too far North for Spectrum.


  3. Info on June 3rd, 2023 8:16 am

    Yes, the fiber will be available to all of Byrneville area, anyone that is on EREC
    now, will have access to it. That’s the same for both ESCAMBIA and SANTA ROSA.

  4. Melissa Pino on June 2nd, 2023 5:11 pm

    What a *fantastic* accomplishment, and taking place through all the slings and arrows and absurd Starlink fantasies. Thumbs up to the BCC and to Commissioner Barry for holding the course on this. Now please, please bring it everywhere else in the county!! :)

  5. El Bandito on June 2nd, 2023 3:37 pm

    Is the kingsfield rd area getting fiber also? I hope so, cox internet is ridiculously expensive and slow.

  6. byrneville on June 2nd, 2023 12:20 pm

    I wonder if they going to come all the way up to Byrneville elementary we live a block from there??

  7. Concerned on June 2nd, 2023 11:24 am

    What about New York and Brown’sdale in Santa Rosa county

  8. Loval on June 2nd, 2023 8:01 am

    I wish Molino was a part of EREC.

  9. Bratt resident on June 2nd, 2023 6:34 am