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[July 30, 2014]
Hulbert council discusses Internet service [Tahlequah Daily Press, Okla. :: ]
(Tahlequah Daily Press (OK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 30--HULBERT -- During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative's extending its cable and Internet service.
Mayor Shirley Teague had earlier been approached by Stanley Young, director of marketing for LREC, about the possibility that the co-op might expand its high-speed Internet and cable service in Hulbert.
Hulbert has recently lost its cable service, though part of the town is already covered by LREC.
Teague told the board Young said LREC would be sending letters to Hulbert community members to gage interest for expanding service.
Teague also said that from her impression of the conversation, it would be fairly easy for LREC to do.
"The potential is there because we already provide service to part of the area anyway," said Hamid Vahdatipour, the chief executive officer of LREC. "It would require investments on Lake Region's part to build the facilities." The area currently receiving cable and high-speed Internet through LREC is part of a pilot program that is about to reach the end of its first year. According to Vahdatipour, 500 individual servers are receiving Internet from the co-op within the pilot program. The area is covered with 200 miles of fiber optic cables.
"The speeds we offer, no one in the area can match," said Vahdatipour.
LREC's lowest service option level offers 20 megabytes for download and upload speeds. The cables are expensive, though, and the ones left from Hulbert's previous cable company could not be used to provide service from LREC.
Vahdatipour said LREC's cost of new infrastructure could average about $2,500 to $2,600 per house, though an engineering study would be necessary to determine the full cost.
The potential cost does not mean LREC isn't interested in expanding this service to the rest of Hulbert.
Vahdatipour said electric co-ops like LREC were created in the 1930s to provide electricity to rural areas that could not otherwise afford it.
"I believe, and the co-op believes, Internet is in the same situation," said Vahdatipour.
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