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Pine Belt Telephone begins fiber optic project

Upgrades will take place in Dixons Mills, Sweet Water

Pine Belt Telephone is beginning a $19 million project to completely upgrade all its telephone lines in Arlington, Dixons Mills, Sweet Water and Nanafalia exchange areas with fiber optics.

“We’re very excited about this project” stated John Nettles, President and CEO of Pine BeltCommunications.  “This will allow us to provide our customers the fastest, most reliable phone and internet services and we will be adding cable television to lineup.  I guess you could say the Pine Belt Telephone area is on its way to being Alabama’s next Gig City … if we were a city I suppose,” he said with a grin.

The project will occur in three phases.  Phase 1 will cover the Arlington area.  Construction will begin in March. Phase 2 will cover Dixons Mills and Sweet Water.  Nanafalia will be done in Phase 3.  Design work for Phases 2 and 3 is in progress with construction expected in 2019 and 2020.

At the end of this phased construction, all served locations in the Pine Belt Telephone Company footprint will be served with Gigabit capable fiber optic lines.  Plans are also in the process to add TV programming to the services offered allowing Pine Belt to offer Voice, Video and Data triple play bundles.

Nettles added, “What is a Gigabit, you ask?  Well, in short, it’s one thousand Megabits.  Today’s DSL services top out at about 10 to 15 Megabits so you see a Gig is way faster.  Typical service tiers will start at 25 Megabits and will work their way up the line all the way to a Gigabit.  Another good thing is that the services will be symmetrical.  So, you will be able to send and receive data at the same speed.  This element will become more and more important as houses and businesses are wired with various internet connected devices which are sometimes labeled as the Internet of Things or IoT.  The idea there is we will have a need to send information to the internet at fast speeds just like we pull information from the internet and the best way to do that is with a synchronous product such as what we are deploying.”

Established in 1958, Pine Belt Communications provides telephone, cable television and wireless services in parts of Choctaw, Clarke, Dallas, Marengo, Perry and Wilcox counties.  Pine Belt’s mission is to provide the highest quality services at fair and affordable rates while generously supporting the communities they serve.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, March 10 issue of the Demopolis Times.)

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