City of Tuttle rolling out its own internet service

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TUTTLE, Okla. (KFOR) - The City of Tuttle is starting its own fiber-optic internet service.

City officials tell News 4 the project started about 10 years ago when the privately-owned cable company they were previously using went bankrupt.

“For a little while it got put on autopilot with nobody operating it. Then one day, right before an OU football game, the power got cut off and that was it for a cable service in Tuttle,” said City Manager Tim Young.

The last of the internet went with the cable service.

The search began for a replacement company, but it didn't go as easy as they had hoped.

Without a huge population density, Young says companies told the city they'd have a hard time making profit.

“We spoke to a lot of the smaller companies, regional companies, national companies, trying to encourage them to come to the community and the only way they could make it work was to have some kind of subsidy from the government,” said Young.

City officials started to research and worked to create their own internet service.

Young says they're one of the first three cities in the state to do it.

“To make sure everybody in the community gets served with internet, not just certain people because they’re in the neighborhoods or because they’re on this power grid or something like that,” he said.

The city will provide internet, but not cable.

Right now, they have about 800 customers online, and soon, it will be the entire city.

“As each piece gets online and customers start giving their feedback of actually using it, and getting to see that build and grow, it has been very rewarding,” said broadband network specialist Laurie Koelsch.

The city offers speeds up to one gigabyte, which they say is around $99 a month, 25 megabytes up and down is about $65 a month.

“As we see our entertainment begin to switch over to one line sources, again, you have to have a very robust internet system that can handle the traffic movement right there,” said Young.

Resident and business owner Chuck Berryhill has been able to make major improvements to his business and home after the new service was installed.

“Antenna internet was the best we could get out here for years, and now that we’ve got fiber we can actually join the 21st century and do things like we need to,” said Berryhill. "Before, we would lose it if it was windy or raining. Now we’ve been able to stay online."

They have 55% of the city online now.

They are hoping to have everyone connected to the service by spring of next year.

City officials also say the City of Tuttle is never going to "make money by offering this public utility to residents. While the City operates the fiber internet system, it does not own the system. The service has been competitively priced, and any income that is made through billing will be reinvested directly back into the system for improved service, maintenance, upgrades, etc."

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