After more than four years of effort, high-speed internet is coming to the city of Early.

Robert Porter a representative of Harris Broadband, along with officials from the city of Early, Citizens National Bank, Superior Essex, Williams Communications and JDTC, Inc. held a press conference to announce a group effort in bringing high-speed internet to Early.

“This has been a several-year planning process working with Williams Communications, our design engineer, making sure we have a well designed system that will be easy to construct and deliver the services we already deliver in Brownwood, Texas,” Porter said. “Harris Broadband started in Brownwood in 2005 and first started hooking up customers in early 2007. We’re about to deliver the same services to the city of Early.”

As part of the expansion, Harris Broadband will offer Early customers telephone, cable and internet service and will begin construction on its fiber optic network soon. Although Early citizens already receive phone, cable and internet services, Porter said what Harris will provide is something rare, even in larger communities, and touted the new fiber optic network will move data at the speed of light.

“It is a fully fiber optic network to the premises, the home or business,” Porter said. “There is no interruption that would slow that light down. God hasn’t made anything faster than light. We’re transmitting signals over a fiber optic cable that travels at the speed of light. You can’t get anything faster than that.”

Porter said the project is unique because the investment, materials and construction all come from local businesses. Citizens National Bank provided the financing to install 32 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the city of Early, Superior Essex will manufacture the cable and JDTC, Inc. and Williams Communications will install the lines. Construction of the system will take five months, but Porter said customers could join as soon as the lines reach them.

“The feedback we’ve been getting from city leadership in Early, and from individual citizens in Early, they are very anxious to have that high-speed connectivity,” Porter said. “… Today, another essential service just like [rural water and electricity] is connectivity.”

Early City Administrator Tony Aaron said brining high-speed internet to the city has been something he sought since he joined the Early city government nearly four years ago. He added high-speed internet is viewed by some industries with as much interest as they view utilities, which he believes is a major step forward in attracting businesses and improving the quality of life for Early citizens.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the city of Early,” Aaron said. “Businesses are going to be able to have that direct connectivity. More than that, the citizens in their homes are going to have fiber and fast internet. If it’s a business that relies on upload, download or internet sales, it’s very important. We have other options out there, but fiber to the business is a game changer. Anywhere you go, any city that is successful, they usually have that connectivity with lighted fiber that provides that information at a much more reliable and faster speed.

As for further expansion, Porter said his system can handle adding cities such as Blanket and Bangs but the cost of the extension is an issue.

“We would love to expand as far as we can. Obviously, Early is the logical one because it’s right next door to us,” Porter said. “The further we have to travel before we reach the next customer, the more expensive it is per customer to spread the cost over … When we start getting out into the rural areas, going to Bangs, going to Blanket, going to the lake, we would love to do all of that and we have the system that will back that up and can deliver that. It’s just the cost of getting there and we will have to work on some of those challenges as we go forward.”