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The Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) is happy to report that following a year of negotiations, Sabine County and Windstream Communications are conducting a ceremonial signing of a contract to enable the funding of a fiber-optic internet project covering much of Sabine County.

This signing will take place on Friday, March 3 at 3 pm at the Sabine County Courthouse in Hemphill.

The project is funded by a grant from the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) for $12,700,959, along with matching funds provided by Windstream of $4,697,615.

Fiber connections will be laid underground to homes throughout the county, extending the reach of the current Windstream network. The project is scheduled for completion by March 2024, and up to 5,000 homes are expected to benefit from this venture.

Homesite connections in Sabine County funded by a separate federal program, the Rural Development Opportunity Fund (RDOF) are not a part of the project. The RDOF sites, awarded through Charter Communications, have not yet started construction.

Between the two projects, however, every home in the county should gain access to fiber, making Sabine County a technology leader among rural Texas counties.

In addition to Windstream, the County is partnering with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments to manage the grant. The project builds upon broadband studies conducted for Sabine County by DETCOG and Connected Nation.

DETCOG has been spearheading the effort to bring more internet coverage to the rural areas of East Texas.  Most recently, representatives launched an initiative to get area residents to report on inaccuracies of a broadband map that the State of Texas would use for determining the allocation of funds.

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