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New internet provider announces plans for Lake Charles, Sulphur and Westlake

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:53 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - There was a major tech announcement for the Lake Area Wednesday, as some Southwest Louisiana residents will soon have another option for broadband internet.

This time last year, Southwest Louisiana was in its second week of recovery from Hurricane Laura, and one of the biggest talking points in the immediate aftermath was internet access.

It’s been over a year since then, and broadband customers are told they’ll soon have another option with Vexus Fiber announcing plans for a 100% fiber network in Lake Charles, Westlake and Sulphur.

Vexus made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning, along with the mayors of Lake Charles, Sulphur and Westlake.

“Really, what we are seeing, not only just in Lake Charles - but particularly here - but in other communities that we’re building is that really the existing broadband providers are not fully meeting the needs,” Vexus CEO & President Jim Gleason said.

Gleason said Vexus Fiber is hoping to meet that need. The company is investing $50 million in the Lake Area.

“I think what’s more key than just the dollar investment is the commitment to putting in a local office and a local general manager,” Gleason said. “Someone that if something does go wrong, there’s someone to talk to here.”

A construction team of 75 to 80 employees will build the network, Gleason said. Once an office is open in the area, Vexus will employ 35-40 workers.

Gleason said Vexux, which is based in Lubbock, Texas, focuses on building fiber networks in medium-sized cities, such as Lake Charles and the surrounding area.

“What we do fits the type of markets like Lake Charles, more so than maybe some very large national companies,” Gleason said. “In other words, I think we can focus on communities like Lake Charles and be more of a provider that can pay attention to costumes in this area.”

He adds that Hurricane Laura clearly showed the need for another provider in Southwest Louisiana.

“We’re going to run fiber all the way into the customer’s home,” Gleason said. “So, they’re going to get a better broadband experience. They’re going to get faster speeds. They’re going to get better throughput and less latency, and they’re going to get symmetrical speed.”

He said that the new fiber lines would provide in excess of 1-gigabyte upload and download speeds. In addition to broadband internet, Vexus will be offering television and phone services.

Vexus is expected to start construction on the fiber network in early 2022. It will then take 20 to 30 months to build.

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