Council agrees to grant 10-year permit

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska city councilors on Jan. 27 voted, 4-0, to grant a 10-year nonexclusive permit to Clarity Telecom, LLC — also referred to as bluepeak/Clarity — to build and operate a fiber-optic communications system in Pawhuska.

The new system is to be used to provide high-speed Internet service and television service to Pawhuska residents.

Councilors Steve Tolson, Mark Buchanan, Roger Taylor and Amber Nash voted in favor of the arrangement. Councilor Rodger Milleson was absent.

Pawhuska city government is to be paid a permit fee of 5 percent of gross revenues.

Desi Stoops, a representative of the telecom company, said bluepeak/Clarity intends to invest about $250 million to $300 million in new telecom systems in Oklahoma. The investment in Pawhuska will likely be about $2 million, he said.

Stoops indicated construction on the Pawhuska system could begin in the first quarter of 2023. He said that prices for residential high-speed Internet service could range from $50 to $65 to $100 a month, while television packages could range from $50 to $100 to $120 per month.

Stoops said the Pawhuska system would be focused on the city, but could potentially be adjusted to include some nearby locations depending on economic factors.

In addition to a permit to build and operate a new telecom system, city government granted bluepeak/Clarity permission to use municipal utility poles.

City government is to receive free service at three locations, and has the liberty to change the locations that it designated.

Jim Trumbly, who is involved with the Osage Nation’s ongoing efforts to provide broadband Internet service in Osage County, was present for the council meeting and expressed a desire to talk with councilors about what the ON is doing. The activity of bluepeak/Clarity is entirely separate from the ON’s broadband project.

Councillors Roger Taylor and Amber Nash, who are both on the ballot Feb. 8, said they had done background research related to the bluepeak/Clarity project. Nash said she hopes the construction of the new telecom system will help spur growth in the local economy.