RTC building fiber optic network on west bank
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2012
By ROBIN SHANNON
VACHERIE – At a recent meeting in Vacherie, the St. James Parish Council was offered an update on the new cable and Internet options being offered to residents through Reserve Telecommunications Company.
Bill Ironside, president and CEO of RTC, said the company has successfully completed a rebuild of infrastructure on the east bank of the parish that RTC purchased from Charter Communications about two years ago. Ironside said RTC had a similar agreement to purchase Charter’s stake on the west bank of the parish. Although the deal fell through, Ironside said RTC is still working on a rebuild on the west bank as part of the company’s work on the west bank of St. John the Baptist Parish.
“We are building a fiber optic network through the entire parish,” Ironside said. “Our infrastructure on the east bank will be connected to what we are building on the west bank by cables strung along both bridges that mark the boundaries of the parish.”
Ironside said RTC is working to not only satisfy the needs of residential customers, but also take care of the needs of the larger industry coming into the parish. He said officials with Nucor have contacted RTC to address needs and concerns.
“Our goal is to have high capacity involvement in the economic development happening in the region,” Ironside said.
As for the residents, Ironside said all of Vacherie will be hooked into the infrastructure by the end of the month. Other areas of the west bank will be ready by June or July.
“About 95 percent of residents will have services by the end of May,” Ironside said. “By the end of the summer, all residents in the Charter area will have RTC services.”
Ironside said RTC is working to offer high speed Internet, cable television and eventually phone service to the west bank of both St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes. He said the company wants to focus on the two-parish region and not expand any further at the present time.
“This is where we are from. We are not going anywhere,” Ironside said. “We want this area to have the best service and the best infrastructure, so our focus will remain here.”
Councilman Ken Brass asked about notifications to residents who are ready to receive services from RTC. Ironside said mail outs have been sent to residents in the form of postcards showing the company’s various offerings.
He said as crews finish connecting neighborhoods, door hangers are placed on homes in those areas.
Others asked if RTC will offer network stations out of Baton Rouge. Ironside said the current system does not offer enough room for the stations. He also said RTC needs to acquire agreements with New Orleans affiliates before they can be added.
“We recognize that there is a need for those stations in that area, and we will work to add them in the future,” Ironside said.
Ironside also said that RTC will only be available in the unincorporated areas of the parish.
The towns of Lutcher and Gramercy have agreements with Cox Communications.
“In most cases, we prefer not to compete with other cable companies that have existing agreements,” Ironside said. “We have had conversations with Cox to purchase their systems in Lutcher and Gramercy, but we have gotten no response at this time.”