Residents living on Fort Sill will get updated internet capability after Hilliary Communications announced Tuesday it will launch a broadband installation project by spring.
The $5 million infrastructure investment will provide internet service to 1,900 houses. Dustin Hilliary, managing partner for Hilliary Communications, said the project should begin within 60 to 90 days, and be completed within 12 to 24 months.
Hilliary said the announcement is the culmination of five years of work and negotiations between federal officials and his business. The agreement comes on what will be the company’s 15th anniversary in internet/broadband service, noting the 60-year-old communications company was involved in those services “long before it was cool.”
JJ Francais, assistant vice president of external affairs for Hilliary Communications, said the project will be confined to Fort Sill, providing broadband service to the residents who live on post, to include those in the barracks.
Hilliary said Fort Sill has “the worst service of anyone in Southwest Oklahoma,” adding that poor service makes it difficult for military spouses to Skype with their military member in remote locations, or even work from home or pursue educational degrees. He said Hilliary Communications recognized that poor quality internet service years ago, adding it took five years of negotiations to reach Tuesday’s announcement, “just because it was the government.”
The resulting agreement will give Fort Sill two internet providers, making the post only the second one in the country to hold that distinction.
Hilliary said the agreement is the result of private investment, with the company working with Arvest Bank to provide the funding. He said it also illustrates the company’s commitment to provide high-speed internet to rural communities and other underserved areas.
U.S. Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, noting with tongue-in-cheek he was “shocked and startled” that the government is slow, lauded the private investment that will provide a better quality of life for the nation’s military personnel.
“It’s a big, big deal,” he said, adding, “broadband is the electricity of the 22nd Century.”
Cole said Hilliary Communication’s decision on this broadband project was a “private sector solution” to a public problem and also continues to illustrate Lawton’s commitment to military personnel.
Hilliary Communications provides communications services in 22 counties throughout Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. The company offers internet, voice and HilliaryTV.