Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative to Offer
High-Speed Fiber Internet Service

Cookson Hills Electric is proud to join the electric cooperative broadband movement!

For many years, the mission of our cooperative has been to make lives and communities better by providing our members with high-quality, affordable services. Today, we are re-committing to that mission with plans to build a world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to serve 100% of our members. This service will be offered through Cookson Hills Connect, a newly formed subsidiary of Cookson Hills Electric.

Cookson Hills Connect’s fiber network will provide symmetrical gigabit speeds – an important distinction that means our members will get the same lightning-fast speeds and power for both downloading and uploading. Symmetrical speed opens the door to telemedicine, efficient work from home and distance learning, and enables a breadth of new tools and applications.

The project, currently in the initial planning stages, is expected to take two-to-three years to reach 100% of our members.  We understand that everyone will be excited by this news even as they have many questions, but we do ask for your patience as this is a large project and will take time to fully complete. Those interested in service are encouraged to email account numbers and address to fiber@cooksonhills.com.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative is excited to announce our world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network! The project will take a few years to complete, but eventually 100% of our members will have lightning-fast internet and high-quality phone services. We know that everyone will have lots of questions and we will do our best to answer them as our plans proceed. Be sure and check back on this FAQ page for regular updates.

The Fiber-to-the-Home Project

What is Cookson Hills 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 three- year FTTH buildout, encompassing 2,500 miles of fiber, will ultimately reach 100% of Cookson Hills Electric members.  The buildout will provide access to broadband benefits for over 18,000 rural Oklahoma homes and businesses.

When will construction begin?

Planning has been under way for some time as Cookson Hills Electric explored the possibility of delivering high-speed internet to our members. We are in the design/pre-construction phase and will update once we announce our initial build areas.

Where will the internet service be offered?

The buildout will be completed in phases, and eventually, it will reach all of our 14,000+ members. We will announce our phases/locations as they are decided.

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

We will soon be launching a pre-registration tool that allows members to enter their electric account number and home or business address to express their interest. Meanwhile, please email us at fiber@cooksonhills.com with your account number and address to express your interest in service.

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. Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative and fellow cooperatives believe 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.

The Next Steps – Getting Service

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

Cookson Hills Electric is creating a subsidiary, Cookson Hills Connect, which will offer fiber internet and telephone services to members within the Cookson Hills Electric service territory. The subsidiary is a separate company and will be managed separately from the electric cooperative. While Cookson Hills Electric will manage its electric grid to provide electricity across our service territory, members will get their broadband services through Cookson Hills Connect. Members will be billed separately for their electric service and their broadband service. 

What internet packages will be available?

Cookson Hills Electric will offer a package with 100 megabits (Mbps) per second upload and download speeds (symmetrical service) for $49.95/month. We also will offer a package with a maximum of 1,000 Mbps (1 gigabit) per second upload and download speeds for $79.95/month. Managed Wi-Fi service, which enables better performance and user experience with in-home equipment, will be included in each member’s package for $4.95/month.  

Can I preregister for the internet service?

Yes. Potential subscribers are encouraged to preregister for services through the pre-registration tool. Meanwhile feel free to send us an email at fiber@cooksonhills.com and let us know if you are interested.

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?

Cookson Hills Connect will eventually offer voice (VoIP) in addition to broadband internet service. There are no current short-term plans to offer TV service, however, Cookson Hills Connect’s high-speed internet service will enable seamless, enhanced streaming TV performance.

How much will the internet service cost?

Cookson Hills Connect will offer a package with 100 megabits (Mbps) per second upload and download speeds (symmetrical service) for $49.95/month. We also will offer a package with a maximum of 1,000 Mbps (1 gigabit) per second upload and download speeds for $79.95/month. Managed Wi-Fi service, which enables better performance and user experience with in-home equipment, will be included in each member’s package for $4.95/month.   Please note, this is ongoing pricing, there will be no rate increase.

Will a contract be required?

No. We will not require a contract, nor will our prices increase over time.

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

We will update members on the construction progress as we get closer, and once our preregistration tool is available, we will encourage potential subscribers to preregister.

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 near your electric meter 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. Feel free to contact us via email at fiber@cooksonhills.com 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 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 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’s possible with FTTH.

*

Typical dsl/wireless/satellite (3Mbps)

 

Standard internet speed (25 Mbps)

FIBER INTERNET

Up to 1000 Mbps (Gigabit)

Download 100 photos

14.7 minutes

1.8 minutes

2.8 seconds

Download HD movie

4.8 hours

34.4 minutes

54.3 seconds

Download 50 Songs

8.2 minutes

1 minute

1.5 seconds

Download 50GB Game

39.8 hours

4.8 hours

7.5 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 Service

Will 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?

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

Timeline

When will I get high-speed Internet? Why does it take so long?

Cookson Hills Electric Cooperative is as excited as you are by the opportunities that lie ahead with the construction of a world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to serve our community. Since humble beginnings in the 1940s to bring electricity to our rural farming communities, our mission has always been to make lives better by providing our members with high-quality, affordable services.

The global pandemic has made it more apparent than ever that our cooperative members need lightning-fast broadband Internet service – and they need it now. The cooperative, through its subsidiary Cookson Hills Connect, is working as quickly as possible to establish the fiber network and deliver high-speed Internet to the 8-county territory. We know this milestone accomplishment will once again revolutionize life for cooperative members, just as the introduction of electricity did in 1948.

When electric service was established in the ‘40s, it took three years to bring the area out of the dark with the first sparks of power. However, building out the reliable electrical infrastructure that today delivers the quality level of power residents and businesses need has continued from 1948 to the present – more than 70 years of technological advances.

The magnitude of establishing the world-class fiber network required to deliver the fastest and most robust Internet in the nation is similar in scope: Ensuring reliable, symmetrical gigabit-speed service is no small endeavor but one we are committed to advancing within a 3-year timeline to reach 100 percent of our membership. We anticipate service to some areas will begin in early-to-mid 2021.

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 in order 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 and 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: 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, technicians splice the necessary cables at each end and tap point and mount the splices 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 splicer 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 installation to homes and businesses to start receiving service.

Step 7: Home or Business Installation

Finally, the fiber is connected to a fiber jack inside your home or office, where it is plugged into the modem we provide! If you pre-register - 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.  Welcome to the world of high-speed internet! 

The scope of the fiber project ultimately determines its final timeline. Upon completion, the Cookson Hills Connect network will span 2,500 miles of fiber with the potential to reach more than 14,000 residential and commercial customers. Fiber service is expected to take 3 years to extend to 100 percent of the membership.

Keep following project progress here and on our Facebook page. We are proud to continue the legacy of Cookson Hills Electric with a new era of economic, educational and community growth for our area created by the transformational power of gigabit-speed internet. Thank you for being a part of our journey.