In 1996 the internet and access to it were burgeoning industries. The Empire District Electric Company found their access to a reliable fiber network for its utility business non-existent.  

“We recognized early that we needed a high-speed network with a 99.99% reliability factor and dedicated bandwidth to meet the communication needs of our core business – delivering dependable electric service to our customers,” says Bruce Short, Director of Telecommunications with Empire. “This led to the creation of Empire Connect, a non-regulated subsidiary of Empire. Over the last 20 years, Empire Connect has expanded its high-speed network to over 1,250 miles of installed fiber, serving over 1,000 customers in the four-state region. For many businesses today, a reliable, high-speed fiber connection is as critical as basic services like electricity and water.”

Empire Connect serves business customers that require private, public, cloud, or data center connectivity for dedicated, reliable, and fast bandwidth. The company primarily serves businesses in the healthcare, financial, and education sectors, as well as wireless service providers and carriers. 

“As a financial institution, a reliable and secure internet connection is highly valuable to us and our customers,” says Carrie Burgi of People’s Bank of Seneca.

“We have partnered with Empire Connect for the past several years to provide this reliable source to our branch locations.”

According to Darrin Henry, Head of Telecomm and Fiber Optic Sales with Empire Connect, “We’re focused on businesses with particularly high quality and reliability requirements. This focus ensures that we can devote the time and attention our customers need to keep their business operations running smoothly.”

Empire Connect services include: 

• Carrier Ethernet Services—including EPL, EVPL and ELAN Ethernet connectivity from 10 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps.

• MPLS Services—Ethernet over MPLS with point-to-point or fully meshed designs along with SLA’s provide flexible design and high reliability.

• Dark Fiber Solutions—including existing and new dark fiber paths to lease or IRU over a period of 10 to 20 years.

• Wavelength Services—10G waves in a protected or unprotected configuration over a DWDM system

Internet Services—Within Empire Connect’s footprint, dedicated internet or BGP connections to a multi-peered IP network that is redundant and scalable to meet clients’ internet requirements. Out of footprint solutions are also available. 

• Data Center Connectivity—Direct connectivity to strategic regional data centers to meet customers’ unique business application requirements, such as disaster recovery, ISP connections, carrier connections and cloud services. 

Empire Connect fiber service provides business customers dedicated bandwidth so speed is never sacrificed because of an overcrowded connection. There’s also a 24-hour customer contact center that dispatches a technician to restore service immediately in the unlikely event of a failure.  An on-site network engineer is provided to clients to help with setup on the network designed to maintain high ability of circuits. 

“We have had a wonderful experience,” says Carrie Burgi. “Not only does Empire provide a great product, but their customer service has been wonderful.” 

“We’re local, highly responsive, and committed to helping businesses succeed,” says Henry. “When our clients win, we win.” 

Based in Joplin, Missouri, The Empire District Electric Company is a subsidiary of Liberty Utilities Co. and headquarters for the Liberty Utilities Central Region, with approximately 950 employees providing electric, natural gas, water, and wastewater service to nearly 320,000 customers across six states.  For more information regarding Empire, visit  For more information about Liberty Utilities, visit

Street Address: 

720 S Schifferdecker Ave

Joplin MO 64801

Phone: 888.748.7828 Option 0


Darrin Henry


Year Founded: 1996

Product or Service:

Dark and LIT fiber, Internet, Ethernet, and MPLS Wavelengths and data center connectivity

Source: Springfield Business Journal