Construction should be under way by June in the first Lawton neighborhoods where Clarity Telecon’s new cable and broadband internet will be installed.
City Council members approved a non-exclusive franchise agreement Tuesday with Clarity Telecon (dba Bluepeak), allowing that firm to launch its plan to install the fiber optic network necessary to support cable and internet. After the decision, Bluepeak said it expected to begin construction on the new network — which will include both aerial and underground lines — in 90 days.
Jesse Granger, Bluepeak director of communications, said construction will involve fiber internet and cable television services, meaning they will be available at the same time. Installation will begin in west Lawton neighborhoods, an area Bluepeak Vice President of Market Development Desi Stoops said would have underground lines. Stoops told council members in December that aerial fiber will be installed primarily in the central portions of Lawton, under an arrangement with AEP-PSO to use its existing power poles, while underground fiber would be installed primarily in east Lawton and neighborhoods in far west and south Lawton.
Granger said while the exact timing of service availability depends on construction, Bluepeak hopes to offer internet and cable service to the first Lawton neighborhoods by mid- to late-summer.
“We’ll offer service to communities gradually, as soon as parts of the network become operational, one or more neighborhoods at a time,” he said, adding residents interested in service options as soon as they are available may sign up at hellobluepeak.com, so they can be added to a mailing list and receive updates.
While Bluepeak initially announced plans for a $30 million investment in Lawton to serve 29,000 households, that investment has increased to $40 million and the number of households served to 40,000. Granger said the increased investment correlates to the increase in Bluepeak’s target audience of residents and businesses.
The plan still is to install 189 miles of aerial fiber and 144 miles of underground fiber, Granger said. Bluepeak has said it expects installation to take two to three years to complete. Under the terms of its franchise agreement with Lawton, at least half of the firm’s installation must be completed in two years. Stoops said the firm’s investment also will include a tech store that will employ 12-15 people, and a storage yard for the infrastructure necessary to complete aerial and underground installations.
While the system is expected to be available for residents on Fort Sill, Granger said the firm has not begun those discussions.
Bluepeak officials said the Lawton project is its largest investment in Oklahoma. In December, the firm had agreements with Enid, Perry, Stillwater, Elk City and Clinton, and has since added agreements with Lawton, Bartlesville, Blackwell, Choctaw, Shawnee, Muskogee, Tonkawa and Pawhuska. The firm has broken ground on its Enid and Stillwater projects, with service anticipated in both communities in April. Work in Bartlesville is to begin this month, Granger said.