West Lawton to have new internet, cable carrier by mid-summer | News

West Lawton residents will have a new cable and internet option by mid-summer.

Bluepeak officially broke ground Wednesday on a $ 40 million project that will extend cable television and internet service to approximately 40,000 Lawton households and businesses in the next three years. Desi Stoops, Bluepeak vice president of market development, said crews associated with the Lawton project are already in Lawton and have feet on the ground. USIC (US Infrastructure Company) is already locating and marking underground utility lines in the area along and east of Northwest 82nd Street at Cache Road.

With those lines marked, other work crews should begin drilling for fiber line installation by early next week, said Joel Deason, director of construction for the Lawton project. Stoops said that means internet and cable service should be ready to offer some west Lawton residents in 45 days, adding neighborhoods and business areas will be brought online as soon as the fiber installation is done.

The project is the culmination of a non-exclusive franchise agreement the City of Lawton signed with Clarity Telecom LLC (Bluepeak) in March. That agreement will allow the company to use public rights of way to build and operate a cable system and offer cable service and other service (in this case, internet). In exchange, the company will pay Lawton a 5 percent permit fee from gross revenues collected from cable subscribers and gross revenue from advertising. The company must have at least half of its service on line within two years to retain the franchise agreement.

Stoops said Wednesday that it won’t be a problem because Bluepeak has already launched its project two weeks ahead of its original June start date.

Stoops said workers will be installing underground cable / internet lines in areas of Lawton where underground utilities already exist, and aerial lines in areas of the city with power poles. Bluepeak officials said earlier this year that meant underground lines would be installed in east Lawton and in far west and south Lawton, with most areas of central Lawton to receive aerial lines using existing AEP-PSO power poles (Stoops said the agreement allowing that action already is in place). Officials estimate they will be installing 189 miles of aerial line and 144 miles of underground line.

Because USIC crews began work earlier this week to locate and mark underground utility lines, the next phase of construction is ready to launch.

“Late this week or early next week,” Deason said, of when residents will see trenching begin for installation of the conduit for the fiber lines, adding the next steps will be installation of the fiber, then testing before residents are notified cable and internet service is ready.

“This part of Lawton will be ready within 45 days,” Stoops said, adding that as the project moves toward completion, residents in that area will be invited to a community meeting to get their briefing on new service.

Lawton neighborhoods will come on line gradually, Stoops said, explaining service will be available as each neighborhood is completed, in a work pattern moving west to east.

The company already has experience in Oklahoma communities.

Bluepeak has completed its work in Enid, Stillwater and Stoops’ hometown of Perry, and expects to complete Bartlesville by next week. Lawton was one of several communities launched this week, while Altus will be among the communities launched next week, Stoops said. Within the next month, Bluepeak also expects to look at extending services in south Oklahoma City, to communities such as Norman, Moore and Midwest City.

Stoops pointed to the economic benefits the project will bring.

Lawton is unique because it has a franchise fee on cable-related service, similar to the fees the city already charges other utility companies that use public rights of way. But, Stoops said Lawton will also benefit from the infusion of workers who will be living, dining and otherwise spending money here, with other benefits to include hiring local workers over the next three years.

Stoops said Bluepeak selected Lawton and other small communities in Oklahoma – and other states – because the company is aware of the importance of serving “fly over” communities that otherwise might miss out on technology.

“A lot of us are from small towns,” he said, of the importance Bluepeak leaders attach to a total project that is expected to invest $ 250 million into the Oklahoma economy.


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