Something exciting is coming to the Grand Lake area, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the newest boat lines, the latest fishing gear or the lifestyle that already makes Grand Lake so great.

No, this is happening courtesy of the fine folks at Northeast Rural Services (NRS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northeast Oklahoma Electric Coop.

What NRS is bringing to the Grand Lake area is Bolt Fiber Optic Services. And this will change the way we watch, communicate and learn throughout Northeastern Oklahoma.

This is the kind of ‘economic development’ that truly benefits an area with opportunities to connect with the world that most rural areas just don’t have.

To understand why this is so important, take at look at this map. Do you see that eastern portion of Oklahoma…that color indicates, on average, the slowest internet in the United States!

Average Internet Speeds

Average internet speeds by congressional district. Image courtesy of Gizmodo & The Washington Post.

You can learn more about this map and what it represents by clicking here to read the corresponding Washington Post article.

And NRS has secured the ability to bring the 21st century to NE Oklahoma.

“Bolt Fiber Optic Services will be among the highest quality and fastest in the nation,” says Anthony Due, General Manager of NRS. “We believe access to this advanced technology will open many doors for both residents and business here in Northeast Oklahoma.”

Folks…this is big. This can transform everything from the way you watch TV and use the internet to the way our kids learn in schools and much, much more.

Now, NRS proudly proclaims that the Bolt Fiber Optic Services will provide:

  • The fastest internet available
  • The highest quality high-definition television
  • Crystal clear Voice of Internet Protocal (VoIP) phone service.

And it will…it will do all of that.

NRS is planning on offering subscribers a ‘triple play’ bundle of broadband services that includes video, data, and VoIP.

But, more importantly, it puts the 4 counties of Northeastern Oklahoma, and the residents and businesses of those counties, on an equal playing field with the rest of ‘connected’ America.

Other opportunities to take advantage of this technology will come in medical technology, home security, video surveillance, distance learning and all sorts of other applications including agriculture, health care, government operations.

And the real estate! Think about the impact on Grand Lake real estate values!

So, why REC, or NRS, to bring Fiber Optic to this area.

Because the NRS Board of Directors understands how important access to these fiber optic services is to grow and improve the quality of life in the Grand Lake area.

Also, for an existing utility provider – like REC – this also brings the ability to bundle a whole new batch of services to it’s customers while also upgrading their overall systems efficiency and reliability.

And this looks to be the trend developing around the country where other already existing utility providers, many of them public, or looking to be the ones to bring the technology of the 21st century to their areas.

According to this article“a fiber-optic network can be 200 times faster than cable and has the potential to trigger a new generation of economic development.”

The economic impact of this for our little corner of Oklahoma could be huge. It will all depend on regional and local leadership to emphasize this great feature when actively pursuing new private investment in Northeast Oklahoma and the Grand Lake area.

But just think about it…with low utility costs, access to transportation, and the best ‘connectivity’ available, the Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor, and similar industrial parks in Vinita, Grove and Miami…will truly have the ability to compete with any other area in the country to entice new business, and that means new jobs, to this area.

On a much smaller but much more specific Grand Lake level…think about the opportunities that now open up for ‘cyber-commuters’ or ‘location neutral workers’ to pack up the family and move to Grand Lake, knowing that there are no more limits to their work being done efficiently while their kids attend schools with state of the art connectivity.

It is all good on so many levels.

So, here are some of the details on the roll-out straight from NRS:

NRS will begin construction of a network in 2014 that it anticipates will one day overlay 5,000 miles of electric lines. Deployment along this network will follow a three-phase approach, connecting homes and businesses in a four-county area along the way to a next generation fiber infrastructure. the network will be capable of providing internet connectivity at up to 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits, or megs) as well as high definition TV and video services. Additionally, Voice over Internet Portocol telephone services will be offered through an independent contractor.

The initial phase of the project will deliver fiber in areas of the largest population density (14-20 homes per mile) with subsequent phases eventually working their way into more remote, outlying areas. ‘We anticipate that the first phase of the project should be available to roughly one-third of NEO Coop membership’ said Due. ‘A significant number of businesses and community institutions in our area would also be connected during this phase’.

And here is more on the benefits of this technology, again straight from NRS in the Connections magazine:

1. Business and Economic Development – High-speed connectivity enhances potential for current businesses while providing the infrastructure necessary to attract entrepreneurs, knowledge workers and technology based companies that would not otherwise consider northeast Oklahoma as a home for their businesses. With a fiber network in place, these companies can build anywhere in the service territory.

2. Education – All levels of the education continuum, including primary, secondary, post-secondary, home-schoooling and continuing education programs start to gain incredible opportunities in rural areas. Whether it be an adult taking on-line classes or a child returning home after school, they will have available quality, high speed internet, that is also affordable, for homework and research.

3. Health Care – Tele-medicine and tele-health allow rural providers to offer a whole new range of health services. From access to specialists, retrieval of health records, improved emergency response and reduction of transportation costs to new alternatives for home health and e-visits, connection health professionals to their patients in real time has the potential to revolutionize health care in rural America.

4. Entertainment – High-capacity bandwidth allows for optimum movie streaming, video on demand and leading edge gaming. With residential high-speed internet, quality VoIP and high definition fiber optic television, it’s easy to get exactly what you want out of your entertainment experience. Enjoy convenient features you’ve always wanted, including clarity, dependability and versatility.

Northeast Oklahoma Electric Coop members interested in signing up for BOLT Fiber Optic Services can call the Coop at (800) 256-6405, email [email protected] or visit : http://neelectric.com/ffth.html.

The following information will be needed in order to sign up: name, phone number, mailing and physical address, email address and cooperative pole location or account number.

Also, there is a benefit for acting fast. Those who live within the initial phase area can sign up for services in advance for a $100 installation fee. A minimum fee of $250 will be charged if crews are required to return to your location once the initial installation has been performed in that area.

One more thing…a big THANK YOU to the leadership at REC, the Board of Directors and everyone responsible for bringing this great service to Northeast Oklahoma.

 

Bolt Fiber Optic Services