This article was published in the August 2023 edition of Texas Co-op Power Magazine.

Update: May 2024 – 

Pole attachment activity, and pole replacement to accommodate new broadband service, is still happening in many areas of the TVEC service territory. In particular parts of Van Zandt and Henderson counties are very active.


IF IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’VE SEEN an increase in bucket trucks and utility crews out and about in Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative territory recently, you are not alone. Along with the normal maintenance of co-op power lines, there are dozens of crews working to install internet lines in many areas.
So what is going on? Most of the activity is related to Charter Communications/Spectrum Internet installing fiber data service lines. The company won a
large federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund grant in late 2021, aiming to install fast internet to under served areas, including much of the TVEC service area.
Why are they attaching to TVEC poles?
In previous legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers approved measures allowing power line easements to be used for internet service. The intent was to remove a roadblock for companies that wanted to provide internet services.
This means the installers need access to TVEC poles to complete their work. In areas where power line easements are not available, they may also seek easements from landowners.

What can members and landowners expect to see? While most of the installation crews are independent contractors, they should have identification on vehicles for the installing company. Some TVEC members have reported unmarked vehicles, and some of the crews that do final installation and wire splicing seem to be in private vehicles or with unmarked trailers.
It has also been reported that many of these crews are working weekend shifts. Crews should request permission to work on your property and postpone work to a weekday if you request that.
Finally, a few members have reported property damage and messy work sites after crews come through. While this has been rare, we will do our best to help rectify the situation.
While this is not a TVEC project, and we do not have any oversight on the crews in the field, we think the addition of high speed internet will be great for many TVEC members in these areas. Please move over and slow down for workers in the field and allow them access to complete their tasks expeditiously.