LISBON — County commissioners are using the last of their federal COVID-19 aid to bring reliable high-speed wireless internet to areas having trouble receiving broadband service.
Commissioners voted Wednesday to use $1.46 million in CARES Act funding to purchase 100 LTE units to be placed on 25 existing towers and poles around the county leased or owned by RAA Data Services, a local wireless internet provider with 2,500 customers in the county.
RAA will attach LTE units to its poles and towers and will be able to provide broadband service within a three-mile radius, regardless of terrain. LTE technology is what smart phones use to connect to the internet.
“People in valleys who’ve been unable to get internet will be able to get it, with a good signal,” said Commissioner Tim Weigle. “It’s a way to get internet to areas that are not served.”
The hilly terrain that exists in much of the county makes it difficult if not impossible for many households in those areas to receive reliable high-speed wireless internet. As more and more students are learning online from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, getting them reliable internet service has become imperative.
“I think of all the projects we’ve been involved in with this COVID (aid) I don’t think there’s been one I’ve found to be more worthy and important than this internet (project) … I also know it couldn’t come at a better time,