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Gig speed internet coming to area

By Staff, 07/12/21 3:49 PM

HOPE – Improved internet services will soon be coming to the Hope-Prescott area.
Monday afternoon, at the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce office, Walter E. Hussman, Jr., and members of WEHCO Media, were on hand to announce a major investment into internet in the region. Hussman began saying WEHCO got the first cable company in the area in 1965 in Hope but since then there have been advancements in cable and internet, with internet being the biggest part of the company these days.

He said it’s important to the public to keep updating the plant in Hope and Prescott. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC), he said, defines high-speed internet at 25 megs per second (MPS), whereas what’s offered locally is 250mps, or 10 times the federal definition. However, plans are to increase this even more, going to 1,000mps, or a gigabyte, by early 2023. Work on the project will begin around the middle of 2022 and should be finished in early 2023, depending on weather and other complications.

Once done, Hussman said, customers in the area will have access to internet as good as anywhere. The company, he added, will be investing more than $1 million in the project. Plans, he continued, are to expand services into other small towns including Camden, Bald Knob and Searcy, among others, bringing them all up to a gig as well. This, he added, will allow small towns to compete with cities as people are getting tired of living in cities and looking for something simpler. Improved internet speeds will mean they can work from home with no problem and this should benefit economic development in the region.

Stacey Eads, the area cable manager, said the company won’t be cherry-picking what areas are improved, and the upgrades will be for all existing clients, along with those who want it. She added there will be no down time while the work is being done and no inconvenience to customers.

Hussman chimed in saying employees won’t have to come inside people’s homes to rewire them as all that will be needed is a new modem.

Initially there will be no increase in the price, though the new price will be announced when the improvements are launched. Hussman said most people won’t need a gig speed, though no one knows what they’ll need in five years. Financially, he added, the company is doing fine at this time. Prices will increase depending on what customers want or need in their services.

Once complete, the gig-a-bit service will be available to every resident and business in Hope, Prescott and Emmet.