QUESTION: Recently, I have seen trucks and workers from Etex Telephone Cooperative working in the right of way along Loop 281 and Judson Road. What are the workers doing? Is Longview about to get another option for telecommunications services? Will there be broad access to fiber optic internet?
ANSWER: Answer Line hates to dash anyone’s hopes and dreams, but that’s apparently my role today.
Etex is expanding its services to businesses along a fiber route it’s building in Longview, but the company is years away from the possibility of providing residential services here. Etex business manager Matt Faggione explained to me that the company started as a traditional telephone cooperative whose primary service area since 1952 has been Upshur County and parts of Harrison, Marion and Wood counties. It also has expanded its fiber footprint into parts of Smith and Gregg counties and other areas.
"Because of a couple of sales opportunities, that opened doors in the Longview area," he said. First, Etex connected to Christian Heritage School by FM 1844.
"From there we were contacted by Toyota of Longview," Faggione said, and from there the senior living center Parkview on Hollybrook asked for service.
"So we built down the loop, down Judson into Hollybrook," he said, explaining that some of the Etex network connects at the Atrium building in downtown Longview.
That work has made it possible for Etex to actively market its services to businesses along those routes.
Because Etex is a member-owned cooperative, it doesn’t want to extend residential service outside of its primary customer base in Upshur County until it has buried fiber to serve its cooperative members first. Faggione said the company is about halfway through a 10-year plan to accomplish that. He said Etex doesn’t want to expand fiber into new areas until it "gives our members the best fiber connections there are."
Once that’s been accomplished, the cooperative’s board will meet and discuss the possibility of expanded residential services into other areas, he said.
Q: When I lived in Dallas, it was illegal to interfere with a driveway. In Longview, it appears that’s not the same. There’s a guy that pulled right next to my driveway and interfered with me getting in my drive. I was wondering if Longview has a similar law?
A: Actually there’s a state law that covers this, in the Texas Transportation Code.
Section 545.302 says the driver of a vehicle may not (except momentarily to drop off or pick someone up) "stand or park an occupied or unoccupied vehicle in front of a public or private driveway...."
I like to encourage people to first have friendly conversations about these kinds of situations (if it’s a chronic problem). If that’s not a possibility or doesn’t work, you can report the problem to your police area representative (find information at www.longviewtexas.gov/2647/Police-Area-Representatives-PAR) or call the police department’s non-emergency number at (903) 237-1199.