Due to the rural nature of Holmes County, residents in the area may not always have the quickest internet speeds or best internet access.
That is expected to eventually change.
Local internet provider Tritech Wireless, LLC dba Tritech Fiber-based in Holmes County-is working on the first of four projects intended to develop broadband internet infrastructure in Holmes. The initial step will see the company provide fiber to the home (FTTH) services for unserved areas in Westville.
The Westville broadband services will permit download and upload at high speeds, according to Tritech and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office. Tritech received four grants totaling approximately $14.6 million from a state program intended to bolster broadband access in what are considered Florida’s ‘underserved’ and rural communities.
The state initially announced grant awards in February. Since then, Tritech has been working with the Florida Department of Commerce to prepare for the project’s start, including permitting and contract agreements before the actual physical installation of broadband cables.
Clint Smith with Tritech said broadband expansion is ‘economically’ the ‘biggest thing that’s ever come to Holmes County.’
‘This will keep people from having to leave the county,’ Smith said. ‘This will give people the option to work from home.’
The hope is, thus, people can stay and spend their money in Holmes.
Whit Majors with Tritech said more broadband service will give Holmes residents internet access ‘they’ve never had before,’ including streaming service and education opportunities.
‘We’re ready to get started,’ Majors said. ‘It’s definitely a game changer.’
Smith said he and Majors care about Holmes County since they grew up there. Smith lives in Holmes.
‘We’re going after this for our county,’ Smith said. ‘We’re chasing every grant we can to give back to this county.’
The subsequent projects after Westville are FTTH expansion in Ponce de Leon, North Bonifay, and West Bethlehem.
No start date has been set yet for the other three projects, though Tritech plans to ‘stagger’ the phases.
The Westville portion is already underway and in the pre-construction part. Westville’s timeline is set at 26 months or less, though Smith hopes for a much shorter turnaround.
‘I’d love to see the project completed in nine months,’ he said.
Smith and Majors have applied for an additional seven broadband grants to be considered in January 2024.