Add “Gig Region” to the list of amenities that make Northwest Arkansas a destination to work, live and play.
Cox Communications says the company’s gigabit internet service is now available to 100% of customers in the company’s Northwest Arkansas footprint. That includes the municipalities in Benton and Washington counties, and further east in and around Berryville/Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and Harrison (Boone County).
The $15 million investment makes Northwest Arkansas the first region in Arkansas to have the service available to all residential customers.
The private telecom company, which serves 59 communities in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, said the powerful connection, branded as Gigablast, is equal to 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps).
Curt Stamp, vice president and Arkansas market leader for Cox, made the announcement Thursday (Jan. 24) at the Cox Communications regional headquarters in Springdale. Northwest Arkansas Council CEO Nelson Peacock also made remarks, and Congressman Steve Womack, R-Rogers, delivered a recorded video message from his office in Washington, D.C.
Cox is rolling out its Gigablast at a faster pace because of the latest cable broadband technology, DOCSIS 3.1, deployed over Cox’s existing network, according to the company.
“Gigablast service meets the needs of today’s internet users, who increasingly have multiple internet-dependent devices in their homes and desire faster speeds for entertainment, communication, safety and a range of other uses,” Stamp said. “Cox Communications’ multimillion-dollar network investments, including the deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 technology, help us stay significantly ahead of demand and enable smart homes, smart businesses and smart cities — all of which depend on reliable fast Internet service.”
With the average home expected to have more than 50 Internet connected devices by 2020, Cox prepared for its customers’ growing demands by expanding residential gigabit speeds. Cox has delivered a wide range of broadband speeds to customers for years, including speeds for business customers that have well surpassed 1 gig for more than 12 years.
“As we’re transforming as a region we’re working on what’s going to take us to the next level in the future economy,” Peacock said. “Workforce development, education, even healthcare. Things that are going to continue to propel us forward. This investment you’ve announced today is going to help us do that. In fact, this is probably an essential piece of the new economy. We’re continuing to strive to be one of the best places in the world to live, work and play, and so this investment is going to help us move along that path.”
Gigablast from Cox delivers more speed, a powerful home network and rich broadband-enabled services to customers through a Panoramic WiFi gateway offering wall-to-wall WiFi coverage in the home. Gig Internet speeds allow users to:
- Run all internet-enabled devices at the same time
- Stream more than 25 4K HD videos simultaneously
- Download an HD movie in less than 60 seconds
- Download 100 songs in three seconds
- Upload about 1,000 photos in about a minute
“This is a great day for Northwest Arkansas,” Womack said in his recorded statement. “Thanks to Cox’s investment in the region, our community will experience modernized networks and technology infrastructure. Our area has seen explosive growth and this announcement ensures that the needs of residents and businesses are being met now and into the future.”
Womack said the updated internet infrastructure is more valuable than just being able to quickly download a website.
“It’s critical to economic development, to education and to healthcare, and making everyday responsibilities a little easier for Arkansans,” he said. “This will improve the quality of life for residents, support schools and businesses and attract more entrepreneurs to the area. These upgrades and innovations wouldn’t be possible without Cox’s great investment.”
In honor of gig speeds of 1,000 mbps, Cox made a $1,000 donation to the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville. Cox has been a proud partner of the Amazeum since its opening in 2015.
Stamp said Cox will continue to make significant upgrades to its infrastructure in Northwest Arkansas as part of the company’s commitment to invest $10 billion in its network over the next five years.
Whitney Yoder, a public affairs manager for Cox, said Gigablast is on track to be available for all of residential customers in the company’s River Valley/Fort Smith market by the second quarter of 2019.
“By mid-year, all Cox customers in Arkansas will Gigablast,” she said.
Atlanta-based Cox is the largest private telecom in the U.S, serving 6 million homes and businesses across 18 states.