East Texas broadband plan rolls on despite delays

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 1:07pm

Longview, TX — Despite delays, an East Texas telecommunications provider is working to extend broadband Internet infrastructure through portions of the region in advance of a federal deadline.

Peoples Telephone Cooperative in Quitman learned in August 2010 that it would receive stimulus funding to build a fiber optic network to serve medical, educational and governmental agencies in 13 East Texas counties, including Camp, Smith, Titus, Van Zandt and Wood.

It will be a “middle-mile” network, meaning Peoples is connecting high-speed Internet links to schools, hospitals and agencies in the 13 counties. Peoples will be able to build and sell “end-use” infrastructure to residential or commercial customers.

“It has to be economically self-sustaining, so we have to hook up enough businesses and institutions to make this thing pay for itself, ”co-op Assistant General Manager Steven Steele said.

Peoples has three years to complete the $40 million infrastructure plan or risk forfeiting $26 million in federal funding.

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