Ozarks Electric Cooperative’s fiber-optic telecommunications subsidiary, OzarksGo, has completed construction of its high-speed network in the utility’s region and has connected 35,000 customers in a little over five years, the company reported this week.
The Fayetteville-based cooperative’s subsidiary connected its first customer in 2017 in west Springdale and has since made fast internet, television and phone service available to almost all of the cooperative’s 70,000 residential, commercial and industrial members.
“We could not continue to bring state-of-the-art internet to Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma without the help of our employees and those customers who continue to be our best advocates,” said Steve Bandy, general manager of OzarksGo. “Building a world-class fiber network from scratch is not an easy task, but we believe high-speed internet access is a critical service in the 21st century, whether you live in an urban area or a rural part of the country.”
For now, OzarksGo offers residential internet speeds up to one gigabit, along with TV and telephone service. Next year, the company will start offering multigigabit services to residences and will continue expanding fiber lines outside the Ozarks Electric footprint, officials said.
The fiber network also gives cooperative members a chance to use smart grid technology to reduce the number of power outages and their duration. Other Arkansas electric cooperatives have followed Ozarks Electric’s example, starting their own fiber projects.
The combined efforts, known as Diamond State Networks, will be uniting the fiber-optic hubs of electric cooperatives throughout Arkansas to further improve the growth of high-speed connections throughout Arkansas.