Another area electric cooperative launches fiber-to-home network


The electric cooperative serving Searcy County is launching a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to make available and serve 100% of the 20,000 members in its service territory with broadband speed and capabilities.Petit Jean Electric officials say the cooperative’s multi-year deployment will encompass 2,500 miles of fiber to members in Searcy, Van Buren and surrounding counties. Fiber construction is expected to begin early this year, with the first members connected by the fourth quarter of 2021.

Petit Jean Electric’s fiber-to-the-home network will deliver symmetrical gigabit internet capabilities — among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Fiber’s symmetrical gigabit capabilities ensure the same lightning-fast speeds for uploading and downloading, which opens the doors to telemedicine, working from home, seamless distance learning and new tools and applications.

For more than 80 years, Petit Jean Electric’s mission has been to improve the quality of life and provide value to the communities it serves by taking care of its members with high-quality, affordable services. The Petit Jean Electric Board and staff are taking that to a new level by delivering “world-class high-speed internet and bringing the economic, educational and growth benefits of broadband” to its communities.

Petit Jean Electric is partnering with rural fiber-optic network design and construction management leader Conexon to design, launch and build the broadband network. Conexon works exclusively with electric cooperatives to deploy fiber to the home throughout rural America and has, to date, assisted more than 200 cooperatives in evaluating, constructing or operating broadband networks.

Petit Jean Electric’s FTTH project is in its initial planning stages. Progress will be communicated to cooperative members as decisions are made.

Petit Jean was organized in 1940. The next two years, $5 memberships were solicited from people for “when and if” the cooperative got off of the ground.

The cooperative was incorporated in 1942, and in March of that year, the general office operations were located in Morrilton, thus the name Petit Jean Electric.

Today the co-op serves approximately 20,000 accounts over 3,566 miles of line and the cost per kilowatt-hour remains under 10 cents, just like in 1943. The cooperative employs 63 full-time employees. It serves members in nine counties and pays real estate taxes to those counties in excess of $500,000 annually.

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