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Pine Belt Telephone Company investing $13 million to Build Fiber Optic Network in Marengo County

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service awarded Pine Belt Telephone Company of Arlington a $13 million 50/50 loan/grant.

The funds will be used to construct a fiber to the premises network in parts of Central and North Marengo County and Hale and Perry Counties. These facilities will represent an extension of a similar $19 million project funded by a USDA loan that Pine Belt launched in 2018 to rebuild 100 percent of its local network facilities in Arlington, Dixons Mills, Sweet Water and Nanafalia.

“Pine Belt Telephone has been serving the areas of Arlington, Dixons Mills, Sweet Water and Nanafalia since 1958” Pine Belt president John Nettles said in a release.  “We are very, very excited to expand our footprint into the areas targeted by these funds. We look forward to becoming as engrained in the additional communities as we are in our incumbent footprint.”

Nettles said Nettles, construction of the main lines in Arlington and Dixons Mills are complete. He added that the company is now working to convert the services at individual homes and businesses in

the area. Construction in the Sweet Water area will start this month, while activities in Nanafalia begin early next year.

The next step, Nettles said, is obtaining the permits necessary to place the cable along the various state and county rights-of-way and getting certain environmental clearances.

“This typically takes 6 to 9 months after which we will solicit bids for the construction and then the real fun begins – the actual cable placement” Nettles said. “The entire end-to-end process is expected to take up to five years.”

Pine Belt Telephone began in 1958 by late Dr. James Nettles and his widow, Rose Mary S. Nettles.

Pine Belt provides wired and wireless telephone, streaming television, and mobile and fixed wireless broadband internet services in Choctaw, Clarke, Dallas, Marengo, Perry, and Wilcox counties.