MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The first of Big River's eight towers in Bollinger County -- and 58 towers in Southeast Missouri -- was among the 18 towers that went live Monday, making long-awaited broadband Internet service available within a three-mile radius of each tower.
The 58 towers across seven counties is the first phase of service Big River Telephone is bringing to the area, company president Kevin Cantwell said.
"There's such a demand for service, especially with school starting," Cantwell said.
Big River kicked off its broadband offerings a few weeks ago in Terre du Lac, Mo. Cantwell called the response overwhelming.
"After years of hard work, service is getting turned on," Cantwell said. "We are getting there; it's a nice thing."
With new towers now operational, customers in the area will have a 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network.
"It's one of the first 4G LTE systems in rural America in the country," Cantwell said. "We're getting consumers up and running right now."
In the next few weeks, Cantwell said, Big River will bring in its mobile office so customers can sign up for service. Eventually there will be an office in the area, but until then "we're going to the customers," Cantwell said.
"It's exciting especially with school coming," he said. "We'll get our kids on a level playing field when it comes to competing. There's a tremendous demand. There's nobody as anxious as we are; it's of huge importance in our region."
Service will be available at first only to residential customers, but business customers will be able to hook on shortly, Cantwell said.
"This is economic development," he said. "It will allow people to do things they have not been able to do in the past."
Marble Hill, MO