City, county internet deal exchanges tower sites for faster service
The City of Craig and Moffat County are receiving the benefit of faster internet service at several locations after striking deals with High Rapid Networks this summer to provide tower sites in exchange for internet service.
High Rapid Networks owner and manager Kelton Rochelle came before City Council in June and Moffat County Commissioners in July to request use of several city and county locations for tower sites, including the city water tanks and sites on Juniper Mountain and Cedar Mountain.
Both the city and county approved the requests in the form of non-exclusive agreements to use their tower sites. In exchange, they receive free 50-megabyte, high-speed internet service for two locations per tower, which now include City Hall, Craig Police Department, Road & Bridge and the water and wastewater treatment facilities.
“Those locations have had poor access to service, so we’ve been upgrading those facilities to 50 MB,” Rochelle said. “A lot of those locations are getting five times more internet connectivity and they’re saving on those costs as well.”
Mayor John Ponikvar said he has heard positive feedback on the new internet service from both staff at City Hall and the police department, where slow speeds had previously made it difficult for officers to download body camera footage after each shift.
Now six months into launching the new service, High Rapids is quickly expanding from Craig into rural Moffat County, including offering service to Maybell residents as soon as next week and anyone within eyeshot of Cedar Mountain, Rochelle said.
“What we’re finding is these rural communities are very underserved, they can’t even stream Youtube videos,” Rochelle told city council in June.
“We broadcast out wirelessly with towers through agreements with the city and county as well as private landowners and business owners,” he said in a later interview. “We’re growing at a rate of approximately one new tower site per week, so our coverage area is growing quickly.”
The company is also working to help clean up old and abandoned wireless equipment as they find it.
“If anyone suspects they’ve found some unused equipment, they can call us up and we’ll clean it up for free,” he said.
Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.