Fiber optic internet loop coming to Brazos Valley

Published: Dec. 16, 2016 at 6:04 PM CST
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The Brazos Valley is two years away from being tied together by fiber optic internet.

The high-speed service will soon loop around the Brazos Valley. The network will run through Robertson, Burleson, Grimes, Madison, Leon, Brazos and Washington Counties.

Rural healthcare providers, including school nurses and jails, will get access to lightning fast internet speeds first.

"If our schools are spending a disproportionate amount of their funds on just providing the minimum of internet, that's not right. We can fix that," said Michael Parks, Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.

The Healthcare Connect Fund and the Brazos Valley Council of Governments are covering the costs.

The $22 million, figure eight-shaped loop will tie rural communities together.

"This project is designed to bring the access to the doorstep of those communities, and then the private sector," said Parks.

Once the project moves beyond healthcare, it's estimated to create nearly 600 small business jobs and 1,100 new jobs in total.

The infrastructure is appealing to those like Bronius Motekaitius. He relies on the internet to run his software business.

"Anytime you have a better infrastructure in the city, it makes it much more attractive. I believe the airport was a major contender for a lot of businesses, and this kind of changes the game for technology companies," said Motekaitius.

Motekaitius said faster speeds will not only bring more business into the region, but also more convenience.

"It helps to send big pay loads of data upstream. That has always been a challenge, so to go 'gig' is going to be much more efficient," said Motekaitius.

The Brazos Valley Council of Governments has worked towards creating the fiber loop for the past eight years.