POMEROY — In August 2010, it was announced that New Era Broadband had been awarded $2.9 million in ARRA grants and loans to provide wireless broadband Internet to areas of Meigs County that were currently unserved or underserved.
However, it was not until more than a year later that all of the paperwork hurdles were cleared, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (administrators of the funding) finally released the project to begin.
“That was a really rough year of waiting,” said C. Brien Burke, president of the Meigs County company that received the award.
“We were between a rock and a hard place, because if we started the work before the funding was released, we were liable for any costs incurred, if for some reason the USDA changed or revoked the project, and we could just not financially afford that. And because everywhere we had planned to expand was part of the project, all we could do was sit and wait while the administrative requirements were met,” explained Burke.
But in November of 2011, things began to happen.
Burke said that as of last November, they have nine active towers and three more under construction. When those three are online, which is expected sometime this month, they will basically be halfway finished with the construction. So while things have gone a bit slower than New Era Broadband had planned, things are moving along at an accelerated pace these days, Burke said.
“New Era is a great blessing to our region,” said Randi Gheen, owner of local business Gheen Rentals. “The New Era team has brought my business and home a faster, more reliable Internet connection at a more affordable rate than ever before.”
Dr. Douglas Hunter said that he is now able to do Coroner and EMS Medical Director work from my home at any hour.
“One of the big advantages we have, besides the very fast speed, is our policy of unlimited data usage,”said Burke. “Many of our customers have been on slow dial-up or satellite/mobile plans where they know the pain of data limits.”
Currently, New Era Broadband covers much of East Letart, Racine, Five Points, Bashan, Long Bottom, Rocksprings and Hemlock Grove. The website atwww.newerabroaband.com shows the current coverage areas.
Plans call for New Era Broadband to add an additional 13 towers around the Northern, and Western areas of the county, near Albany, Carpenter, Langsville, and Danville over the next 12 months. In addition, the company plans to offer commercial services to Pomeroy and Middleport, and will continue looking at ways to offer services to other areas that were not covered by the original project, according to Burke.
For additional informatiion or service, call New Era Broadband’s toll free number at 866-937-9991 or visit its website at www.newerabroadband.com.