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WEINER, Arkansas – A major $2 million installation of 21st century fiber-optics connectivity for internet services has begun for customers of the Rice Belt Telephone Company, according to Tom Walden, Rice Belt general manager. The major Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) upgrade project has begun that will serve the towns of Weiner, Waldenburg and Fisher. Separately, Rice Belt voice customers will receive the benefits of what Walden described as a “major technological software upgrade of switching services” that was begun during 2017.

As it proceeds, the new Rice Belt fiber service offering will replace current DSL copper-based services for people living within the towns of Weiner, Waldenburg and Fisher in western Poinsett County.  When completed, Rice Belt customers in those towns will have access to high-speed fiber internet, with three new speed service offerings for residential and business customers.

“Customers will benefit from the fact that the new service offers symmetrical speeds,” said Walden. “That means that data being uploaded – which is typically slower in many DSL and cable settings – will be the same as the data download speed.” If customers purchase the new High-Speed 90 package, their download and upload speeds will both be at 90 Mbps. “This symmetrical upgrade will improve video streaming, gaming, data transmission and other high bandwidth services,” he added.

The major fiber upgrade is being made at no cost to Rice Belt customers. The higher speeds will enable a new and improved service capacity for customers using video streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling, and Hulu.

“This fiber conversion represents a long-awaited project in the area and we’re very pleased to get this moving,” said Walden.

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About Rice Belt Although Rice Belt Telephone Company was incorporated in 1953, its beginnings in western Poinsett county can be traced to the early part of the 20th century. In addition to the recent conversion to 21st century fiber connectivity, many technological advancements have taken place over time for this rural area. Today high-speed fiber internet is available through Rice Belt, which enables customers to easily use streaming media services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and Sling to customize the TV services they want. In 2017 Rice Belt began upgrading its telephone voice service to a state-of-the-art communication platform, which also benefits its customers. This major innovation in service follows a legacy of technology improvements, including the conversion a number of years ago from two party lines and operator switchboards to one party service, digital central office equipment and a wide variety of optional calling features. Rice Belt is committed to providing the highest level of services available. At the same time, the company is committed to providing advanced technology for the communities it serves, both now and in the future. Since 1953, Rice Belt has striven to achieve the highest standards of telecommunication services for its customers. Today, the employees serve customers in their homes, communities, and businesses throughout western Poinsett County. For more information, please visit https://ricebelt.net.

Contact: Tom Walden, 870-684-2288, tom.walden@ricebelt.net
Michael Snyder, 317-805-4870, msnyder@themekgroup.com