Ritter Communications of Jonesboro is making a $2.2 million fiber-optic push into Brinkley, which is applying money from the Arkansas Rural Connect (ARC) program to extend Ritter’s high-speed internet service to local residences.
Ritter, the largest privately held telecommunications service provider in the Mid-South, had already offered the company’s 100% fiber broadband service to businesses in Brinkley. Brinkley city officials secured the $2.2 million through an ARC grant funded by the American Rescue Plan for COVID recovery and existing state resources.
The grants to rural communities finance projects improving broadband internet access for more Arkansans.
Ritter officials said in a news release that the company has independently invested over half a million dollars to provide the Brinkley business community with “state-of-the-art communications technology and advanced business solutions.”
Ritter will offer Brinkley residents gigabit internet speeds through a trademarked program called RightFiber, providing a full suite of services including internet, TV and phone connections.
“Ritter Communications is pleased to bring the latest fiber internet services to both business and residential customers in Brinkley,” Ritter CEO Alan Morse said in the release. “We are dedicated to delivering high-quality, high-speed and reliable broadband internet services to the rural communities of Arkansas. And we’re grateful Governor Hutchinson is committed to bridging the digital divide in Arkansas with ARC grant support. We are honored to have an opportunity to do our part.”
Morse was referring to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, long a champion of internet access within the state.
Brinkley mayor Gary Henard also praised the program.
“We feel fortunate Brinkley was chosen as an ARC Broadband grant recipient,” Henard said in a statement. “The $2.2 million grant will provide Brinkley residents access to a necessity in today’s world, fast and reliable broadband internet service,” said Brinkley Mayor Gary Henard, who also expressed admiration for Ritter and its advanced technology.
RightFiber construction is on pace to be completed and residential customers connected by the middle of next year, Ritter officials said.
Ritter Communications began connecting Brinkley businesses this fall.