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story.lead_photo.caption Ritter Communications crews work installing hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable. The $16 million project is expected to be completed by year's end.

TEXARKANA — Ritter Communications, based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, is laying down hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable, from a link running from Little Rock to here, and to a network and web of fiber optic throughout Texarkana. This network — from the transport fiber coming from Little Rock, to the distribution fiber network arranged in eight zones in Texarkana — will be complete at the end of this year.

"This network will provide high speed internet connectivity to business customers," said Alan Morse, chief executive at Ritter Communications. "This XGS-Pon setup will offer speeds at ten times the rate of previous fiber internet setups. Modern computers should have no problem with that kind of information speed, though."

The $16 million project started the design phase in mid-summer 2019. Actual construction began in the third quarter of 2019.

"It isn't just a fiber optic network we are setting up, either," said Morse. "We will have a local office for our Texarkana customers. That office, in turn, will be supported by other Ritter offices and facilities. When you call us, you will be dealing with local people. Each of our customers will have a file, tracking their system and any issues they may contact us about. That way, we will be up to date on their situations and that will make it much easier and more efficient to solve their problems."

The company's motto is "'Right by you," he said, and is about "being local and doing right by our clients."

Ritter Communications got started in 1906 as a local telephone company in Marked Tree, Arkansas. Since then, it has expanded to serve 92 communities in Arkansas, West Tennessee, southern Missouri and now Texarkana.

Add to that, Ritter Communications also seeks opportunities for community partnership and service.

Company officials have been working with Mike Malone and the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce and recently the company contributed $25,000 to its COVID-19 business support fund.

"We are excited to be there, helping out the community and other communities that have sometimes been historically underserved," Morse said. "Big nationals might not be interested, so we are filling in the gap."

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