POMEROY — “No doubt about it, the past nine months have been a challenge!”
That’s how Brien Burke, president of New Era Broadband described what the company has been through with the expansion of their wireless broadband Internet project in Meigs County.
“While we’ve been the victim of some freak engineering and weather mishaps, we are still alive and moving forward with our project,” he said.
Since the expansion project started out in November 2011, New Era has twice had damage to two of the six towers they are building in the county as part of the expansion, with the tower at the Pomeroy Gun Club coming clear to the ground in a wind storm on Jan. 30. But Tuesday the replacement for that 195 foot tower went in the air.
“We’ve had issues with the bases of the towers at the Gun Club and on Roy Jones Road failing,” said Burke. “We have since changed engineering companies, and the new bases, including the one at the Gun Club now and the bases of the rest of the towers we build will be of heavy concrete.”
“We really appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve had from our customers,” said David Hannum, New Era’s Managing Partner. “I had personal phone calls from many of our folks encouraging us to hang in there. It’s been really encouraging, the attitude of our Meigs County folks. They understand what it is we are trying to do here — and that is do what nobody else has been willing or able to do.”
What New Era is doing is bringing broadband Internet to the most rural of folks who have no wire line options.
“Within the next few days, we’ll have this tower lit back up, and then we’ll resume our expansion,” said Hannum.
New Era had brought in an 85-foot cell on wheels to help keep the network alive during the rebuild of the tower. However, this was not enough for about a dozen customers who were served directly off the downed tower.
“The cell on wheels was just not tall enough or heavy enough for the equipment. But we’ll have these folks back online within the next few days,” Hannum continued. “And we are just about ready to light up the next three towers which will mean available Internet access for hundreds more folks around the county!”