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Eastern Cooke County, Texas, Will Get Fiber-Optic Broadband

A pact between the county and Internet service provider Nortex will extend high-speed Internet to residents in the underserved communities of Callisburg, Woodbine and Oakridge. The network is slated to come online in late 2025.

Multicolored Wi-Fi symbols in varying sizes are shown in a darkened environment.
(TNS) — High-speed Internet is coming to eastern Cooke County.

County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to use leftover federal stimulus dollars to help extend fiber optic lines to Callisburg, Woodbine and Oakridge, an underserved area with regard to broadband access.

The county will partner with Nortex, the Muenster-based Internet service provider, to run fiber optic lines to residents in these communities.

The county will spend $1.3 million, left over from federal money committed to the county in 2022. Nortex will invest $1.4 million and run the network when it comes online in late 2025.

"This plan concentrates on Woodbine, Oakridge and Callisburg," said Nortex executive Chris McNamara. "We will maximize the amount of locations we pass as we extend fiber to these communities. Once completed, we will have extended our fiber-optic network to every incorporated community in Cooke County."

That's important, as county officials have wanted to improve broadband access along U.S. 82 and the border with Grayson County, which will become home to a new, $35 billion manufacturing operation being developed by Texas Instruments.

"This brings infrastructure to the eastern side of the county and will help position us to continue expanding service where feasible," McNamara added. "Cooke County already surpasses neighboring counties in fiber access. Cooke is 70 percent, Grayson is 26 percent, Montague is 41 percent and Denton is 64 percent. This project will help us to build upon our success."

Precinct 1 Commissioner Gary Hollowell thanked the citizen committee who reviewed the county's broadband situation and helped devise this plan, crediting it with getting he and his fellow commissioners to the point of being able to effectively address the county's broadband access.

"We're trying to hit the most underserved parts of the county," Hollowell explained. "And I just want to say thank you to that team."

Hollowell said the county would continue to look for state and federal grant money to improve broadband elsewhere, including Moss Lake and along the Red River.

The Biden and Abbott administrations, respectively, have committed several billion dollars to improve broadband access and affordability in rural areas like Cooke County.

©2024 the Gainesville Daily Register, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.