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The Fiber-to-the-Home Pilot Project

Background

For many years, the mission of Petit Jean Electric Cooperative has been to make lives and communities better by providing our members with high-quality, affordable services. We are re-committing to that mission with our plans to build a world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network — Petit Jean Fiber!

Petit Jean Fiber multi-year deployment will encompass 2500 miles of fiber to the members served by the cooperative. The broadband network will deliver symmetrical gigabit internet capabilities — among the fastest and most robust in the nation. Services will be offered through Petit Jean Fiber, a subsidiary of Petit Jean Electric Cooperative.  For more information about our cooperative, visit www.pjecc.com.

What is Petit Jean Electric Cooperative building?

Our electric cooperative is building a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network – the gold standard of communications transmission – over its existing electric distribution infrastructure that will take fiber directly into homes and businesses and deliver reliable, high-speed internet services.

What is the timeframe and scope of the buildout?

This [6 year] FTTH buildout, encompassing [2500 miles] of fiber, will ultimately reach 100 percent of Petit Jean Electric members.  The buildout will provide access to broadband benefits for [14000+] rural Arkansas homes and businesses.

When will construction begin?

Planning has been under way for some time as Petit Jean Electric explored the possibility of delivering high-speed internet to our members. Construction began in Summer 2021.

Where will the internet service be offered?

The high-speed internet services will be offered across the entire Petit Jean service territory i.e. if you receive electric service from PJECC, then you will also be able to receive highspeed internet service at the same location. The buildout will be completed in phases, and eventually, it will reach all our [20,000+] meters. We will announce our phases/locations as they are decided.

Why there?

We operate offices in Clinton and Marshall, AR, among our considerations, we took into account whether the area was unserved or underserved, population density, total buildout cost, the number of potential subscribers and revenue projections in deciding where to start. All of these factors helped determine our buildout plans.

How do I know if I am in the initial service area?

At anytime you can click the “Sign Up” button at the top of the page and enter in your information to see if fiber internet service is available in your area. Preregistering and providing your email lets us easily notify you with specific construction updates and when fiber service will be available in your area.

Will my electric bill increase to pay for the FTTH network?

No. Electric rates will not be raised to subsidize the buildout or deployment. Electric rate adjustments are based entirely on costs associated with supplying electric service.

The Technology — Internet Service

What is a fiber-optic network?

Fiber-optic systems are made up of tiny strands of glass that carry data using light waves, resulting in much faster internet speeds and better reliability than traditional copper lines. Most internet providers use fiber in their systems but use copper lines for the final connections to the home, resulting in slower speeds. Petit Jean Fiber believes FTTH is the best, most sustainable communications choice. With our FTTH service, we offer “symmetrical” speeds, meaning you’ll enjoy the same high speeds whether uploading or downloading.

What makes fiber so special?

A fiber-optic network sends and receives data at the speed of light. In addition to super-fast transmission speeds, a fiber-optic network can carry an extremely high amount of data. Fiber is also more reliable than other networks because it’s less susceptible to interference and damage from lightning and other acts of nature.

What does the term “broadband” mean?

Broadband commonly refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. Broadband fiber-optic networks can deliver voice, data, video and email services over the internet.

What is involved in the process of building a fiber-to-the-home network?

Construction of a fiber network is a complex process involving extensive planning with numerous consultants and contractors. The project is dependent on a number of variables that include length of the circuit, the readiness of each individual circuit for construction, availability of materials, access to the bulk internet system, terrain, weather, and many other external factors. Most distribution lines are a mix of overhead and underground construction. Construction is divided into five to seven phases for each opening zone for an overhead distribution project. Once a circuit is constructed and ‘lit’ i.e. ready to begin transmitting internet data via light signals, then members/customers in the area will be able to sign up for service and have the necessary equipment installed in their home. Petit Jean customer service employees will be contacting members in areas that are ready to inform and assist them with the sign up process.

The Next Steps – Getting Service

How will I get FTTH services?

Through Petit Jean Electric Cooperative's subsidiary, Petit Jean Fiber, which will offer fiber internet and telephone services to members within the area. The subsidiary is a separate company and will be managed separately from the electric cooperative. While Petit Jean Electric Cooperative will manage its electric grid to provide electricity across our service territory, members will get their broadband services through Petit Jean Fiber. Members will be billed separately for their electric service and their broadband service.

What internet packages will be available?

Petit Jean Fiber offers Petit Jean Fiber Basic service 100 megabits (Mbps) per second upload and download speeds (symmetrical service) for $69.99/month, Petit Jean Fiber Advanced 200 Mbps per second upload and download speeds for $89.99/month and the Petit Jean Fiber Ultimate (1 gigabit) per second upload and download speeds for $119.99/month.

Can I preregister for the internet service?

Yes. Potential subscribers are encouraged to preregister for services at https://pjecc.smarthub.coop/Login.html#marketing:

Are there data caps with this service?

There are no data caps or bandwidth throttling (intentional slowing or speeding of internet service) with this service.

Will voice and TV service be available immediately?

Petit Jean Electric will offer voice (VoIP) in additional to broadband internet service for $29.99/month.

Will a contract be required?

No.

What is the earliest date that internet services can be installed in my home?

Installation service will begin soon in some areas. We encourage potential subscribers to pre-register as soon as possible to get notified about service. We will send out postcards, email and announce to members as their locations become eligible for installation service.

What is the installation process?

Once you sign up for service, fiber installation is fairly simple and non-invasive. We pull fiber from our main lines and follow power lines to attach the fiber to your home or business. The fiber will be hung or buried underground. Next, we attach the fiber line to a box where the home/business inside wiring connects with the outside wiring. Finally, the fiber is connected to a fiber jack inside your home or office, where it’s plugged into the modem we provide. In essence, the construction crews pulling and hanging the fiber and taking it to your house’s outside wiring are preparing the network to go live once construction in the area is complete. One of our member relations representatives will contact you to schedule an appointment for an in-home installer to finalize your connection and test the services from your equipment. Once the installation is complete and tested, your service should be ready to go.

Will the construction crews make a mess in my yard?

Fiber construction often involves digging or trenching and our trucks to be in the neighborhoods. Our contractors are trained to minimize any damage, and should any occur, to repair before leaving the job.

The Benefits

Why are you offering broadband service?

Our communities have long suffered from a lack of broadband equality – access to the same speeds and capabilities as those in less rural areas. Broadband availability across our service area will help close the digital divide between those who have access to advanced technology and those who don’t. A few of the many advantages of broadband access are:

  • online teaching capabilities allowing our students to learn from home
  • healthcare benefits such as telemedicine
  • work-from-home interoffice connectivity and videoconferencing capabilities that will help professionals stay in their homes, while being productive
  • quality of life improvements through enhanced communications
  • economic development and growth in rural areas. Access to high-speed internet can raise home prices and attract businesses to communities.
How will I benefit from fiber internet access?

Our sole reason for offering high-speed internet services is to meet the needs of members like you. You will no longer have to rely on DSL, fixed wireless or satellite internet to stay connected online. You will have reliable cell phone connections, be able to stream high-definition media smoothly and quickly, have the data capacity to download and upload data such as files, photos and videos at super-fast speeds, and have access to the latest technological advancements and applications.

Our FTTH world-class service will be reliable, affordable and backed by your local, trusted co-op. You will be able to run multiple devices – such as cell phones, computers and laptops – simultaneously in your home or business without decreased download and upload speeds.

* Typical DSL / Wireless / Satellite (3 Mbps) Standard internet speed (25 Mbps) FIBER INTERNET
Up to 1000 Mbps (Gigabit)
Download 100 photos 14.7 minutes 1.8 minutes 2.6 seconds
Download HD movie 4.8 hours 34.4 minutes 51.5 seconds
Download 50 Songs 8.2 minutes 1 minute 1.5 seconds
Download 50GB Game 39.8 hours 4.8 hours 7.2 minutes

*Download speeds calculated using the following averages:
Phone Photo – 3.15 MB
HD movie – 6 GB
Song – 3.5 MB
Game – 50 GB

Phone Services

Do I have to sign up for phone service to get high-speed internet?

No, you can sign up for the services individually.

How does the phone service work?

Petit Jean Fiber’s phone service uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Calls you make are processed over the public telephone switched network, which results in a higher quality call than traditional VoIP calls.

Can I keep my phone number?

In the majority of cases, yes. We sign agreements with various carriers to “port” phone numbers to the new service.