PERRY, Mo. -- Civic and business leaders in Perry have launched a campaign to try to bring fiber-optic internet service to the community.
Mayor Dustin Wasson recently signed a letter of support on behalf of the City Council urging Ralls County Electric Cooperative to expand its fiber-optic network into the Perry city limits.
RCEC's subsidiary, Ralls Technologies, has been carrying out a $19 million project aimed at offering high-speed internet, high-definition TV and digital phone services over fiber-optic cable to all members in its service territory.
Recently the company started making connections in New London, and now Perry officials are trying to get similar services in their town.
Wasson said Hannibal National Bank, which has a branch in Perry, approached him about getting involved to show RCEC there is sufficient interest in Perry.
"They are looking to see if we can partner with them in trying to get Ralls County Electric Cooperative to bring fiber-optic internet to the citizens of Perry inside the city limits," Wasson said.
Wasson said high-speed internet would have many benefits for Perry's residents and businesses.
"It would allow us to upload things faster, and it would allow us to download things faster," he said. "It would put us on a more competitive playing field with neighboring communities, especially with businesses."
Jeff Albus, senior vice president and branch manager at the Hannibal National Bank facility in Perry, said "it's a little premature" to talk about the efforts to bring high-speed internet services to town. Nonetheless, he hopes the proposal will gain steam.
"We're just trying to figure out a way to see if we could get something better here in town," Albus said.
The RCEC is "working through the town of New London right now (installing fiber-optic cable), and we're trying to lobby them to go over to Perry after that," Albus said. "Services are available outside Perry's city limits, but they're not available in the city limits."
Albus said he spoke with an RCEC official about the possibilities.
"They asked us to see if there as enough interest in town, so we are working on getting signatures," he said.
Petitions are available at Hannibal National Bank in Perry and at City Hall. So far, Albus said, support has been strong.
Albus feels that it's important for local businesses to have access to fiber-optic internet, which can provide significantly faster connections than the conventional services available in Perry.
"Everything that we do would be faster," he said. "Customer service would be better."
Albus said Hannibal National Bank's computers are linked into a network based in Quincy, Ill., and a solid internet connection is crucial.
"Everything we do -- every transaction and every email and everything of that nature -- is all driven by the speed that we can connect to Quincy," he said. "So everything I do all day long is limited by that speed."