The Fiber-to-the-Home Project

What is South Central Arkansas 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 4-year FTTH buildout, encompassing 1,800 miles of fiber, will ultimately reach 100 percent of more than 10,000 members.  The buildout will provide access to broadband benefits for thousands of rural Arkansas homes and businesses.

What is the current status of construction?

The buildout will be completed in phases, and eventually, it will reach all of our 10,000 members. Construction is complete and service is currently being installed in Arkadelphia, Richwoods, Alpine, Bismarck 1, Curtis, Daisy, Amity and Murfreesboro to homes and businesses that have registered for service.  Construction is still underway to bring services to the Glenwood, Okolona, South Fork, Delight and Centerpoint zones. In several of these areas, the mainline construction effort is near or at completion. Find the latest construction updates for each zone at SouthCentralConnect.com.

Where will the internet service be offered?

Service will be available to 100% of our cooperative members. You can check availability for your address and preregister for service at southcentralconnect.com.

How will I get FTTH services through the co-op?

South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s fiber subsidiary South Central Connect,offers fiber internet, TV, and telephone services to members within the co-op’s service territory. The subsidiary is a separate company and will be managed separately from the electric cooperative. While South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative will manage its electric grid to provide electricity across our service territory, members will get their broadband services through South Central Connect. Members will be billed separately for their electric service and their broadband service. 

How do I sign up for service?

South Central Connect’s registration portal allows members to enter their electric account number and home or business address to determine if the household or business is in the service area, and/or when service might be available.  The portal is continually updated as construction progresses and will be accessible through smart phones and other electronic devices.

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

No. Electric rates will not be raised to subsidize the buildout or deployment.

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. South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperativeand fellow cooperatives believe FTTH is the best, most sustainable communications choice.  With our FTTH service, we offer “symmetrical” speeds, meaning you will 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 is 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.

The Next Steps – Getting Service

What internet packages will be available?

South Central Connect offers a package with a minimum of 100 Mbps (megabits per second) upload and download speeds (symmetrical service) for a monthly price of $49.95. We also offer a package with a maximum of 1000 Mbps (1 gigabit) upload and download speeds for $79.95 per month. Managed Wi-Fi services are also available. Bundle with South Central Connect voice and/or TV service and save. Combine two services and save $10 a month or combine three services and save $20.

Can I preregister for the internet service?

Yes. Potential subscribers are encouraged to preregister for services through the pre-registration tool at southcentralconnect.com. The tool will check availability for your address and notify you when service will be available.

 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 services be available immediately?

South Central Connect also offers voice (VoIP) and TV services in addition to broadband internet service. Internet service is required to sign up for voice or TV service.

Will a contract be required?

Yes. A minimum 12-month service agreement is required.

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

Internet service installations are underway now in Arkadelphia, Richwoods, Alpine, Bismarck 1, Curtis, Daisy, Amity and Murfreesboro.We encourage potential subscribers to preregister through the portal as early as possible to get on the installation list.

Can internet service be installed at my business?

South Central Connect offers commercial services to connect your business with fiber internet, TV, and phone. Commercial rates are available by customized quote only.

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

Construction of a fiber network is a complex process involving numerous contractors and dependent on a number of variables that include length of the circuit, terrain and soils, weather, and other external factors.  Most distribution lines are a mix of overhead and underground construction. Construction is divided into six phases for an overhead distribution project.

Step 1: Make Ready Engineering – Two-to-Four-Week Process

The project begins with design of the fiber build. Once the design is set, field engineers determine if modifications to any poles are required to support the fiber and the steel strand that accompanies it. Poles may need to be moved to make more space, or they may need to be replaced with stronger or taller poles. During the first phase, inspectors will also “ride out” the build, visiting every location throughout the project area and making notations of changes that may need to be made. During make-ready engineering and assessment, we also make sure every member in the territory is included in the build. This phase can take two to four weeks.

Step 2: Make Ready Construction – Four-to-12-Week Process

The timeline for make ready construction can vary widely, typically from one-to-three months. During this phase, crews make the changes necessary to accommodate fiber. Line crews change poles, move transformers from one side of the pole to another, move wires on the pole, add new anchors to the poles, and perform other work to allow the fiber to be placed during the fiber construction phase.  

Step 3: Fiber Construction – Four-to-Eight-Week Process

Fiber crews will begin the process of adding fiber-optic cable and steel strands to pole lines throughout the community. This process can vary whether electric lines are above or below ground.  If underground, asphalt and concrete driveways will be bored under. A pedestal may be placed next to a transformer or junction box to allow for a service drop. Fiber construction can take four to eight weeks in the designated zone.

Step 4: Main Line Splicing – Three-to-Six-Week Process

Once both the strand and fiber are placed and secured, splicing can begin. Splicing can take three to six weeks for the main lines. In this phase, splicing technicians splice the necessary cables at each end and tap point and mount them in enclosures secured to the distribution poles or in pedestals.  

Step 5: Service Drop Construction

Service drop construction may be done simultaneously with some of the previously mentioned steps, or it may not be done until after the main line fiber is in place. In this phase, the drop crews extend the fiber from the nearest splice point to the structure receiving service and leave coils of fiber in each location.

Step 6: Drop Splicing

Drop splicing is the next to last step of the process. The splicing technician connects the last length of fiber at the tap point and mounts a network interface device (NID) at the structure with the final splice inside it.

After drop splicing is completed, the network is now ready to be turned over for in-home installation to start receiving service.

Step 7: Installation

One of our subscriber representatives will contact you to schedule your in-home install. During installation, the fiber is connected to a fiber jack inside your home or office, where it’s plugged into the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) we provide. Once the installation is complete and tested, your service is ready to go.  Welcome to the world of high-speed internet!

Will the construction crews make a mess in my yard?

Fiber construction often involves digging or trenching. Our contractors are trained to minimize any damage, and should any occur, to repair before leaving the job. Feel free to call us at 855-269-3429 or 870-246-3429 to share any concerns about the construction process.

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 do not. A few of the many advantages of broadband access are:

In addition, by connecting South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative’s electric substations and offices with fiber, we will create a smart grid with more automation capabilities to better serve our members.  Smart grid capabilities – the standard for optimum electric infrastructure – allows our devices to communicate with each other and delivers benefits such as improved power outage response times, better load balancing, more efficient electricity delivery and more.

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 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.  The table below gives you a speed comparison between what you may have now and what is possible with FTTH.

*

Typical DSL/Wireless/Satellite

(3Mbps)

Standard internet speed

(25 Mbps)

FIBER INTERNET

Up to 1000 Mbps (1Gigabit)

Download 100 photos

14.7 minutes

1.8 minutes

2.6 seconds

Download an HD movie

4.8 hours

34.4 minutes

51.5 seconds

Download 50 Songs

8.2 minutes

1 minute

1.5 seconds

Download a 50GB Game

39.8 hours

4.8 hours

7.2 minutes

 * Download speeds calculated using the following averages:

Digital Photo - 3.15 MB
HD Movie - 6 GB
Song - 3.5 MB
Game - 50 GB 

Voice Service

How does voice service work?

South Central Connect’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 most cases, yes. Phone numbers can be ported from other providers if the account/phone number is still active at the time of the request.  

What is the voice service pricing?

Digital home phone service is available for $29.95 per month including unlimited local and long-distance calling plus the convenient voice service features you look for. All voice service packages require having our internet service. As with all South Central Connect services, you can bundle and save. Combine two services and save $10 a month or combine three services and save $20.

Can I have voice service installed at my business?

South Central Connect offers commercial services to connect your business with fiber internet, TV, and phone. Commercial rates are available with a customized quote.

Television Service

What is the television service pricing/packages?

Powered by our fiber-to-the-home network, our digital TV service delivers a crystal-clear HD reception with more dependability. Along with greater picture quality, our programming packages give you more channel options.

There are four TV packages to choose from:

There are also add-on specialty services and packages to customize your TV service. Details and pricing for these options are online at southcentralconnect.net.

All TV service packages require having our internet service. As with all South Central Connect services, you can bundle and save. Combine two services and save $10 a month or combine three services and save $20.

What are the channel lineups?

With more than 240 channels to choose from, South Central TV service has options for every family. View the channel lineups for each of our packages online at southcentralconnect.net.

Can I have television service installed at my business?

South Central Connect offers commercial services to connect your business with fiber internet, TV, and phone. Commercial rates are available with a customized quote.

Can I use my existing television receivers (i.e. Dish, Direct, Cable, etc.) if I sign up for South Central Connect TV service?

No. South Central Connect’s TV service will have specific set-top boxes that have to be used with our TV programming.