The Fiber-to-the-Home Project
What is Petit Jean Electric Cooperative building? Our electric cooperative is building a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network – the gold standard of communications transmission – over its existing electric distribution infrastructure that will take fiber directly into homes and businesses and deliver reliable, high-speed internet services.
What is the timeframe and scope of the buildout? This [6 year] FTTH buildout, encompassing [2500 miles] of fiber, will ultimately reach 100 percent of Petit Jean Electricmembers. The buildout will provide access to broadband benefits for [14000+] rural Arkansas homes and businesses.
When will construction begin? Planning has been under way for some time as Petit Jean Electric explored the possibility of delivering high-speed internet to our members. Construction will begin shortly on the initial phase of the network build which is expected to begin by Q3 2021.
Where will the internet service be offered? The high-speed internet services will be offered across the entire Petit Jean service territory i.e. if you receive electric service from PJECC, then you will also be able to receive highspeed internet service at the same location. The buildout will be completed in phases, and eventually, it will reach all of our [20,000+] meters. We are in early planning stages and will announce build-out plans as they are complete. We expect to start finalizing the initial design for construction in Q2 2021, then begin construction as early as July 2021. Once construction begins, home installations should be available as early as September 2021.
Will my electric bill increase to pay for the FTTH network? No. Electric rates will not be raised to subsidize the buildout or deployment. Electric rate adjustments are based entirely on costs associated with supplying electric service.
The Technology – Internet Service
What makes fiber so special? A fiber-optic network sends and receives data at the speed of light. In addition to super-fast transmission speeds, a fiber-optic network can carry an extremely high amount of data. Fiber is also more reliable than other networks, because it’s less susceptible to interference and damage from lightning and other acts of nature.
What does the term “broadband” mean?
Broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. Broadband fiber-optic networks can deliver voice, data, video and email services over the internet.
What is involved in the process of building a fiber-to-the-home network?
Construction of a fiber network is a complex process involving extensive planning with numerous consultants and contractors. The project is dependent on a number of variables that include length of the circuit, the readiness of each individual circuit for construction, availability of materials, access to the bulk internet system, terrain, weather, and many other external factors. Most distribution lines are a mix of overhead and underground construction. Construction is divided into five to seven phases for each opening zone for an overhead distribution project. Once a circuit is constructed and ‘lit’ i.e. ready to begin transmitting internet data via light signals, then members/customers in the area will be able to sign up for service and have the necessary equipment installed in their home. Petit Jean customer service employees will be contacting members in areas that are ready to inform and assist them with the sign up process.
How will I get FTTH services through the co-op? Petit Jean Electric will offer fiber internet and telephone services to members through a fiber subsidiary we have formed called Petit Jean Fiber. The subsidiary is a separate company and will be managed separately from the electric cooperative. While Petit Jean Electric will manage its electric grid to provide electricity across our service territory, members will get their broadband services through the subsidiary. Members will be billed separately for their electric service and their broadband service.
What internet packages will be available? Petit Jean Fiber will offer a package with a minimum of 100 megabits (Mbps) per second upload and download speeds (symmetrical service). We also will offer a package with a maximum of 1,000 Mbps (1 gigabit) per second upload and download speeds, along with managed Wi-Fi services. Pricing for our services will be available closer to launch; pricing will be competitive with existing providers with respect to the level of performance.
Can I preregister for the internet service? Yes. Potential subscribers are encouraged to preregister for services through the pre-registration tool which will be launched soon. Members service representatives and public announcements will alert members when the service is soon to become available in their area.
Are there data caps with this service? There are no data caps or bandwidth throttling (intentional slowing or speeding of internet service) with this service.
Will voice and TV services be available immediately? Petit Jean Electric will offer voice (VoIP) in additional to broadband internet service.
How much will the internet service cost? Pricing and packages will be announced once they are finalized. Pricing and packages will be competitive with the existing providers in the area.
Will a contract be required? No. At this time contracts are not a requirement, however there will be an installation fee which will be determined closer to launch.
Why are you offering broadband service? Our communities have long suffered from a lack of broadband equality – access to the same speeds and capabilities as those in less rural areas. Broadband availability across our service area will help close the digital divide between those who have access to advanced technology and those who don’t. A few of the many advantages of broadband access are:
- online teaching capabilities allowing our students to learn from home
- healthcare benefits such as telemedicine
- work-from-home interoffice connectivity and videoconferencing capabilities that will help professionals stay in their homes, while being productive
- quality of life improvements through enhanced communications
- economic development and growth in rural areas. Access to high-speed internet can raise home prices and attract businesses to communities.
How will I benefit from fiber internet access? Our sole reason for offering high-speed internet services is to meet the needs of members like you. You will no longer have to rely on DSL, fixed wireless or satellite internet to stay connected online. You will be able to stream high-definition media smoothly and quickly, have the data capacity to download and upload data such as files, photos and videos at super-fast speeds, and have access to the latest technological advancements and applications. Our FTTH world-class service will be reliable, affordable and backed by your local, trusted co-op. You will be able to run multiple devices – such as cell phones, computers and laptops – simultaneously in your home or business without decreased download and upload speeds.