JENNINGS — Faster Cajun Networks hopes to expand wireless internet service in Jeff Davis Parish.
Faster Cajun Networks owner Johnny Oneillion of Lake Arthur told the Jeff Davis Parish Police Jury on Monday that the independent company is working to bring improved internet service to those areas with little or no internet.
Oneillion said he noticed the lack of service after moving back to Lake Arthur.
"Although there were options for internet they weren't the best options," he said. "More times out of none we didn't have internet at home."
Through his frustrations, Oneillion, who has been in telecommunications for 20 years, decided to provide another option to residents.
"We definitely need another option," he said after the meeting. "My philosophy is competition spurs growth and performance and pushes everybody that is in the game to do better. Ultimately it is the customers that are going to dictate."
Faster Cajun Networks began installing towers and providing high-speed internet service to residents and businesses in the Lake Arthur area in mid-May. To date the company has three local towers and about 200 customers in the Lake Arthur area with plans to expand its service to other parts of the parish.
"We built out south of the lake toward west Lake Arthur and we are slowing moving toward the other parts of the parish," he said.
His goal is to eventually cover the whole parish. He hopes to expand to Jennings by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
The Police Jury on Monday granted a tower permit for Faster Cajun LLC to locate on Celopha Road, five miles north of Lake Arthur. That tower will allow the company to serve the Cleopha Road and Andrus Cover areas, south of Jennings.
Police jurors Steve Eastman, Byron Buller and Bill LaBouve welcome the news of expansion. Both said the service is desperately needed, especially in rural areas where residents and fire departments have spotty service.
"That is one of the things we need to look at as we move forward, getting more high-speed internet out to the parish," Eastman said. "We have none."
"I would be tickled pink to be able to be able to engage in some opportunities to help out the parish and expand our coverage area," Oneillion said.
There are two other wireless providers that are operating in the parish currently — Radio Communications of Crowley and Kayse Internet of Lake Arthur.
"It was never my intention to start up to steal everybody's business but one thing we have seen in our parish is our infrastructure for telecommunications is so outdated that the speeds that AT&T or Vyve internet are able to provide are restricted because that copper has been in the ground since the ‘40s and ‘50s, in most cases," he said. "Those companies are not going to come in and invest in our communities."
There are millions of customers around the country being serviced by the small companies like himself, he said.
"My main focus is to provide a quality service to the customer versus quantity or price," he said. "Currently for the speeds we are offering, we are the lowest price for the speed package compared to anybody else in the parish."