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Chamber seeking grant for internet service – SuddenLink wants $5,600 to hook up business

Posted on May 17, 2016

Published by: El Dorado News Times

EL DORADO — A couple of El Dorado businesses are missing a staple service that most of us take for granted — Internet connection.

“SuddenLink internet service stops at Mims and Cooper in the industrial park,” Mike Dumas, director of the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday. “I was contacted by Denny Lawrence, president of Bayou Pumps out there on Mims Drive, and he said that he wants to get on the internet out there but can’t get the connection.”

Dumas said that cable and internet provider SuddenLink says it will cost $5,600 to run the necessary cables needed to the industrial park so Bayou Pumps can get online.

“They tell me they can double their business if they can get online,” Dumas said. “So to help them do that, I have put in an application to get a grant to help pay for that expense.”

Bayou Pumps & Products, Inc. is a recognized company in the field of process fluids, petrochemical, oil and gas, poultry, product development systems, water and wastewater equipment, according to the company website,

Founded in 1992, Bayou Pumps has been supporting the industrial and municipal marketplaces for over 25 years.

“They’re using wi-fi hotspots out there now, but Denny says if he can get online he can double his business.”

Other businesses in that part of the industrial park are also without internet, although some of the businesses are within the SuddenLink customer service area.

Dumas has turned to the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District for assistance in getting grant funds to pay for the expansion of internet service into the industrial park.

“I’ve also been in contact with Rep. John Baine and Sen. Bobby Pierce about the possibility of getting some General Improvement Funds,” Dumas said.

As of Monday, no word had come back from the state, but Dumas said he expected to hear back from the grant agency within a week to 10 days.

“Once we get approved, then we have to have the work done, then I turn in an invoice and they pay for it,” Dumas said.

SuddenLink told Lawrence and Allison Butcher, administrative assistant for Bayou Pumps & Products’ sister company TVP, that the $5,600 cost was for placing the cables to the property underground, even though there are utility poles running up to the building.

“They told us they went on Google Earth and didn’t think the poles had enough clearance,” Lawrence said.

Butcher said she had requested a detailed expense report showing what the $5,600 would be spent on, and was told by a SuddenLink official that no one had ever requested a breakdown of the costs before.

SuddenLink also wanted Bayou Pumps to sign a three-year contract for service before they would provide internet to the business.

“SuddenLink followed its standard procedures to develop an estimate to provide the requested service,” Gene Regan, senior director of corporate communications for SuddenLink, stated in an email on Monday.

“A construction engineer conducted a site evaluation, estimating costs of using overhead or underground lines,” Regan stated. “Based on our estimates of the least expensive means to provide service, the customer was provided two options — either a three-year service contract with a $5,600 payment to cover a portion of our costs or a five-year contract with a $4,900 payment.”

“Who’s ever heard of a three-year contract?” Lawrence asked. “You hear about two-year contracts all the time, but not a three-year contract.”

Randal Curtman may be reached at 870-862-6611 ext. 151, or by email at