By Lark Thwing, Chair, FHMS
By April 8, 2021, the date of our next FHMS online meeting, we should have all the infrastructure operational except for Borden Mountain. The last three poles to become operational will be one on South County Road in Florida and two on Rt 116 just west of the Savoy Highway garage. We are just waiting for electric meters to be installed.
As of March 26th we have 242 connected customers. 66 in Florida, 68 in Hawley, 25 in Monroe and 83 in Savoy. We are able to connect 5-7 new customers in a good week. We have difficulty connecting homes that are in a “hole”, terrain wise and it is difficult to get a good signal where there is heavy foliage between the home and the signal pole, especially if the foliage is evergreens rather than deciduous trees.
We want to remind everyone that we are still in the development stage of this wireless network and will be for some time. This is WiValley’s biggest wireless network project so there is a learning curve for them.
As a reminder, our four towns chose wireless because we could not afford fiber. We have no tax burden, a low monthly cost and download speeds are mostly in the 12-28 mbps range for 3/4 of our customers.
With assistance from MBI and the lieutenant governor, DCR is giving us a high priority to get the Borden Mountain site permitted. We had an onsite meeting with the DCR team on Wednesday April 7th. We hope to have the site operational sometime this summer. The Borden Mountain site is expected to serve more than 200 customers.
We are just now beginning to deploy CBRS where it fits into our network. CBRS can give a realistic 25-50 Mbps offering at an economic distance, While not a head-to-head with Fiber, for rural and suburban cases CBRS is a very viable option.
Anyone in our four towns who does not have broadband currently and would like to be connected should contact Kate Albert at WiValley. Her phone number is 1-603-546-7204. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Billing and service issues should be directed to OTELCO. New service requests and questions should be directed to Kate at WiValley. She is very busy so an email is often better than a phone call and both is best.