Broadband: More towers set to go live next month as service expands
Coshocton Tribune, May 20
COSHOCTON — Ohio TT is continuing the wireless broadband project with Coshocton County Commissioners as more towers are poised to go live by the end of June.
Commissioners contracted with the Zanesville based firm in September for a $5 million project of providing internet service to 15,000 underserved county residents and businesses. Another $1 million could connect another 5,000 users in a possible second phase.
Equipment is expected to be on towers in Nellie, Conesville, White Eyes Township, at Coshocton County Head Start and what is known as the Stuart Site within the next week. They should be active by the end of June, said Megan Kvamme of Ohio TT. Customers will be hooked up starting in early July.
The company is working with the Ohio Multi-Agency Radio Communication System for equipment placement on towers at New Castle, White Eyes and Blissfield. It’s hoped this can be worked out by the end of June as well, Kvamme said..
“The only caveat to June is that we can’t control MARCS. What we can do is commit to providing them with all the information they need to complete their process,” Kvamme said. “We’ve connected with them and they’re willing to work with us.”
Ohio TT is also reevaluating a tower near Adams Mills as there doesn’t appear to be that many underserved households in the area. It’s possible equipment earmarked for that site could be moved elsewhere to have a greater impact.
The first tower in Millcreek went live at the end of March. Ohio TT reported eight users in the area with another 15 on a waiting list. Site surveys are conducted to make sure residents can receive service from the tower in their area.
Kyle Yoder of Ohio TT said about 75% of potential customers are able to get service so far. Kvamme said others could be served by additional towers when they come online or different solutions, like establishing microsites to fill in gaps.
The company is seeking individuals interested in leasing hilltop land for new tower builds in Bedford, Washington, Pike, Lafayette, Adams and northwest Jackson townships and the Woodbury Wildlife Area.
A timeline for the new builds and what Ohio TT is paying for leases haven’t been announced. The firm said many people have said they are willing to trade space for free internet service, which is a possibility. The towers are 50-feet by 50-feet and will be 180-feet or 300-feet tall depending on location and needs.
Rusty Dreher, who is acting as a liaison between Ohio TT and the county, said the tower situation is very fluid as they continue to identify better sites or hit snags with some.
“it’s almost weekly, definitely monthly, trying to fill in those holes or find a better location,” Dreher said. ” MARCS holds a lot of stock in this game, because they hold a ton of vertical infrastructure, not just in Coshocton County but throughout the state. It’s going be a huge relationship not just for Ohio TT, but broadband throughout the state in general.”
Ohio TT is looking to launch an advertising campaign as well. This includes postcards, door hangers, yard signs and billboards. They’re also using #ConnectCoshocton for promotion in social media posts. Matt Armstead, chief growth officer, said action so far has just been by word of mouth.
More information on the project, availability and costs can be found at ohiott.com.
Early adopters are being sought for all areas. Up to 10 subscribers will receive free equipment with installation and three months of free service. The referral code that can be used through the website is CBUAB.