CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Work got underway at Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation to modernize their electric grid with a high-speed broadband internet service.
Technicians strung the first bit of fiber optic cable in Phase 1A of Craighead Electric's "Empower" Broadband Project.
As many as 50 contractors will provide service for the 30,000 customers.
Fiber assets manager, Jeremiah Sloan, says one crew from Smithville is working fast in this 90-degree heat to install over 20 miles of cable each week.
"Once they get to a job site and have hauled the material there, they want to work at that site as long as possible," Sloan said. "Twelve-hour days, 4 to 5 days a week, is pretty standard. They'll reel the fiber off the reel, use the trucks to pick it up, and mount it to the poles with bolts and tangents."
They're making good progress--only 50 miles from Walnut Ridge.
The completion of Phase 1A at year's end will provide customers from Walnut Ridge to Brookland with internet speeds of up to one gigabyte per second.
In the next 7 years, around $110 million will be invested in the roughly 5,000 miles of fiber optic cable installed across Region 8.
The network will also create up to 30 permanent jobs once complete.