United Cooperative Services Chief Executive Officer/General Manager Cameron Smallwood, left, shows community members a fiber optic cable that would be installed if the company offered high-speed internet during a Friday open house.



Having high-speed internet both at home and work is essential, United Cooperative Services officials told community members on Friday. 

UCS hosted an open house in its Cleburne office to ask its members how they would feel about them offering broadband internet services in the future. 

Marty Haught, UCS chief operative officer, said they host community meetings around the 14 Texas counties they serve a couple times a year. 

“Over the last three, four years one of the big things that we’ve heard is they want us to provide a high speed internet service,” Haught said. “We said OK let’s really get an official decision or affirmation from our members on whether or not this is something they want us to invest in because it is very costly to build a network like this.”

He said about 20,000 residents, which is about one-third of their membership, have responded positively to the proposition so far. After they end the survey, their board of directors may consider the proposition in September. 

If they approve it, he said the project would take about five years to complete. They will work as fast as they can to ensure members receive high-speed internet, he said.

“There’s a lot of needs both residential for entertainment purposes but also for work purposes,” he said. “We have a lot of commercial members as well who could use it.” 

They will focus on their members first and may give non-members the opportunity to have access to high-speed internet later on, he said.  

Landy Bennett, UCS chief administrative officer, said there’s been an overwhelming positive reaction to the possibility so far.

“All the social media input from them has skyrocketed,” Bennett said. “Even though the old fashion face-to-face [interaction] still works, they’re contacting us that way too. This is going to be a game changer.”

Their goal is to ensure everybody is given access to high-speed internet, Haught said. They will continue to host more open houses in the future.

For information, visit united-cs.com.

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