Ritter announces $45 million high-speed internet investment in Jonesboro

by George Jared ([email protected]) 376 views 

For years, many residents in Jonesboro have complained about availability of high speed internet services and not having options when it comes to providers. Ritter Communications announced Thursday (Nov. 10) it intends to spend $45 million during the next three years to expand its infrastructure and build two customer service centers in Northeast Arkansas’ largest city.

Ritter and the city of Jonesboro will partner on the collective $60 million project. The other $10-15 million will come in the form of state or federal grants. The company will open two customer service centers in addition to building out its infrastructure, CEO Alan Morse told Talk Business & Politics.

One will be be built at the confluence of Parker Road and Southwest Drive, he said. A location for the second center has not been decided, but it will likely be placed in the Hilltop area in the northern section of town.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Copenhaver told TB&P he believes that once the project is complete, virtually every resident will have expanded choices when it comes to internet service. Copenhaver believes that Ritter’s $45 million investment will make it easier to obtain grants to finish the project.

Typically, grants that are awarded are matching such as an 80/20 split. With Ritter already fronting 80% it should make the process much easier, he added.

“This is going to be a role reversal. It puts us in a favorable position,” he said.

The entire project could be completed within three years and aims to provide households and businesses in Jonesboro an opportunity for broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit.

“When I became mayor last year, I began researching what we could do to make sure Jonesboro residents had choices for service. I believe competition will result in a better product and better customer service for Jonesboro residents,” Copenhaver said. “Internet and TV service are probably the most common complaints we receive. The idea that Ritter is willing to bring this magnitude of an offer to make Jonesboro a true Gig City is exciting to see. I cannot thank Alan Morse and the entire Ritter family enough for their commitment.”

Morse said Ritter has the right product and desires to serve residents in Jonesboro, its corporate headquarters. He said this opportunity comes at the perfect time.

“As the home to our corporate offices and the majority of our employees, we have a long-standing investment in this community – financially, culturally, professionally and personally,” Morse said. “Ritter Communications is ready, with our unique RightFiber internet product and our unwavering Right by You pledge, to make game-changing gig-speed internet accessible across Jonesboro – and to position Jonesboro as the most connected city in the Northeast Arkansas region.”