Improving broadband service in Pratt County has taken a step forward with an SC Telcom project south of Pratt, but it didn’t have anything to do with millions of dollars the USDA is purportedly funneling towards such projects.
SC Telcom recently completed installing fiber for internet service upgrades that will connect 30 locations as part of the South Highway 281 Pratt project. Of those, 22 are existing customers who are converting from an inferior technology to a superior technology, said Wendy Crenner, SC Telcom marketing manager.
The area of expanded broadband service is south of Pratt in the area of SW 20th Avenue to SW 30th Street and east of U.S. 281 to SE 10th Avenue.
With the ever increasing demands for better internet service in business and in the home, upgrading the system was necessary to meet expanding demand for better service.
"In this day and age, broadband is essential," Crenner said. "Installation of fiber is better for the customers and better for the company in the long run."
SC Telcom crews have already laid in the duct work using a burrowing system that went under roads so they would not have to be closed during the project. The fiber is being blown in that will bring better service to that area of the county. All the main line is laid and now the individual drops are being installed to the individual homes.
The project started a couple of months ago when significant interest was expressed in that area for fiber optic broadband which prompted a feasibility study, Crenner said.
If someone is really interested in improving broadband service, will be a champion for the project and get their neighbors interested, that helps the project become a reality. Even if an area doesn't have SC Telcom service, if there is enough interest, it will prompt a feasibility study, Crenner said.
This is not the first time SC Telcom has done a broadband upgrade in Pratt County. Another area was upgraded in the northwest portion of the county last year.
Anyone wanting more information on getting fiber optic broad band can visit the SC Telcom website at sctelcom.net and enter their address on the home page to find out if they are within the service area. Crenner said they do monitor this site to see where interest is in getting better broadband service.
"SC Telcom is committed to investing into our local communities. We understand the value of bringing fiber to our communities and the opportunities it provides," Crenner said.
She said this project was not funded by any distribution of funds from the USDA. Instead, customers paid a $1,000 interest fee and then signed on for per-month installments, which for many amounted to less than they were currently paying for poor internet service.