Fiber internet comes to Terrebonne Parish

As people, businesses and markets head online more with each passing day, Terrebonne Parish has taken another step in staying up-to-date.

Officials from the parish and from AT&T announced the company’s fiber internet service is now available in Houma and surrounding areas. The new services bring vastly-improved internet packages to the area’s residents and companies.

The fiber internet upgrade does not affect any current AT&T customers’ packages in Houma. However, those customers are able to get packages featuring up to one gigabit per second connection. Local non-fiber internet packages from AT&T top out at 45 megabits per second, or less than 5 percent of the highest fiber speed available.

AT&T has expanded fiber services across the state, including in New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish, with announcements in both Lafourche Parish and Baton Rouge coming soon. Sonia Perez, state president of AT&T, said Terrebonne Parish’s leadership desire to work with the company for new investment made it a prime target for the fiber upgrade.

“It makes the community as competitive as anyone else across the state and, frankly, anywhere else across the country. We have a great quality of life, and that’s why people live here, that’s why people want to be in Terrebonne, that’s why people want to start businesses here,” Perez said.

Sylvia Hebert, manager of outside plant engineering at AT&T, said the work on upgrading the internet networks in Terrebonne and Lafourche to fully-fiber ones took about a year.

“We started with this by having the Bellsouth fiber network that was antiquated. Now we’re moving forward,” Hebert said.

Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove thanked AT&T for its continued investment in the area and said the new services would improve the quality of life in the area. Those improvements are vital to the Terrebonne Economic Development Authority’s ability to bring new businesses to the area, according to Dove.

“Between residential and, of course, commercial, the age of the computer is here. The better the tie-in, the better system that’s available in your parish, better that TEDA can sell and get industry down here,” Dove said.

Nicholas Hebert, TEDA treasurer, said the economic authority just finished its economic study of the area and cited internet speed as one of the major factors in business recruitment. Hebert said the new AT&T options strengthen the parish’s competitiveness.

“Prior to today, [internet] was a negative factor in the assessment. With this announcement and through the policies from the parish government, we can now move that from a negative to a positive. This is something that is very beneficial,” Hebert said.

Hebert also highlighted the upgrade’s impact on healthcare, noting the continual need for integrated, high-functioning medical technology. In a press release, TEDA CEO Matt Rookard echoed Hebert’s sentiments of the products emphasizing progress across an array of fields.

“The AT&T Fiber network will help encourage economic development and business diversity in the area by facilitating a new wave of innovation through enhanced technological opportunities for education, health, research and small business growth,” Rookard said. •