Tiny Telco Eatel to Offer 1 Gbps in Rural Louisiana Parish

– Thanks to ADTRAN’s All-Fiber Gear
All broadband is local.

The tiny telco Eatel, which operates in parts of the rural-becoming-suburban eastern portion of Ascension Parish, is upgrading its existing fiber network with ADTRAN fiber gear, which will allow it to offer gigabit broadband. The far-seeing Eatel has had an all-fiber network for over a decade and had previously installed gear from Alcatel-Lucent that, because of its age, operates at slower speeds.

Harris Miller, EVP of technology for Eatel, said, “A new generation growing up with multiple Internet devices in the home expects ultra-fast, broadband speed.”

Mitch Fleming, ADTRAN’s VP of sales to service providers, said, “Gigabit broadband is changing the way we live, work and play. Eatel is providing a real benefit to the communities they support with innovative one Gigabit residential and business services today, and they are laying the groundwork for faster speeds up to 10G in the future,” said “ADTRAN believes that regardless of their location or city population, all communities can benefit from Gigabit broadband.”

Eatel, founded in 1935 in the town of Gonzales, offers broadband, pay TV and phone service in the part of Ascension Parish that is east of the Mississippi river and in a small, very rural portion of Livingston Parish that is adjacent to Ascension Parish. Eatel had the first all-fiber network in Louisiana. It competes against Cox in triple play services and of course, AT&T’s DirecTV and Dish in pay TV.


gonzales water tower

More on their plates: Ascension Parish, Louisiana residents promised 1Gb broadband 


ADTRAN said Eatel “will be able to provide residents in Louisiana’s Ascension and Livingston Parishes with one of the nation’s fastest broadband speeds with 1 Gigabit Ethernet Internet connections – 10 times faster than the typical Internet connection offered.”


All Broadband Is Local

“When I moved from New York back to my home state of Louisiana in 2003”,  adds The Online Reporter’s Charles Hall, “ I purposely moved to Baton Rouge the state capital and parish (Louisiana equivalent of county) just north of Ascension where I had attended high school.

I had assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that Ascension Parish’s Eatel wouldn’t have faster broadband than Baton Rouge.

Little did I know that Ascension residences and businesses, many on stilts, on the banks of Bayou Manchac, the Amite River and the Diversion Canal in the still rural parts of the parish, could get 10 times faster broadband than city dwellers in Baton Rouge.



Modernity clash: fast broadband availability strikes a blow for stereotypical views


Since then Cox has upgraded my residential broadband in Baton Rouge to 100 Mbps but the dinosaur AT&T still only offers a maximum of 18 Mbps at my home in a somewhat upscale residential area”.


Telephone and Broadband vacuum

Cox already offers speeds up to 200 Mbps and has promised to upgrade its service throughout its footprint to 1 Gbps by the end of 2016. The archaic AT&T is not even talking. AT&T appears to be the least technologically capable telco, at least when it comes to broadband.

AT&T never operated in East Ascension, which is why the founder of Eatel decided to start the company 85 years ago.

There is an all-fiber network in at least one other Louisiana parish – Lafayette Utility Service (LUS) in Lafayette, the center of Acadiana (the Cajuns).

Because it was the local taxpayer-owned utility when it decided to build an all-fiber network, AT&T and Cox used all their political and financial clout to fight LUS. Fortunately for consumers and businesses, AT&T and Cox did not …

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