By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City residents and businesses will have another option for internet service.
Bluepeak announced plans to build a high-speed fiber network in the city. The roughly $30 million expansion will bring internet service to nearly 30,000 residences and businesses, according to the company.
The city council recently approved a franchise agreement with Bluepeak for installation of the fiber optic cable service. Under the agreement, the city will get 5% of the money received from subscribers. Bluepeak also agreed to provide service to six city-owned properties at no cost.
City attorney Don Maische said the franchise agreement is similar to those reached with AT&T and Cox Communications.
Councilwoman Susan Eads asked if the company offers any type of assistance for students or low-income residents. Bluepeak does offer free and low-cost internet options to low-income households in Oklahoma through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), according to a company spokesperson.
“It’s affordable and with the competition it keeps the prices low,” said Randy Beutler, a representative for Bluepeak.
Councilman Pat Byrne reiterated Ead’s concerns about a need for affordable internet service for residents and students taking online courses.
“We need to make sure the kids that can’t afford it are able to get it,” Byrne said.
Beutler said he experienced that firsthand as a former educator. He said he taught courses at Southwestern Oklahoma State University and saw struggles of many students during the pandemic.
Mayor Matt Dukes asked about the installation process.
“Can I get assurance from you and your company that when you go in and start digging up ground that you return the ground to the way it looked before you started?” Dukes said.
Butler said construction can be messy but promised to be accessible and address issues. He said they meet weekly for every city they’re working in and discuss issues.
“Are we going to run into issues? Unfortunately, probably so. But we’re going to address those issues,” Beutler said.
More information about Bluepeak and the Affordable Connectivity Program is available at mybluepeak.com