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High Speed Wireless Internet Provider
Considering New Development in Fort Fairfield
By: David Deschesne
Fort Fairfield Journal, April 17, 2013
Michael Griggs and C.B. Smith, from Airocomm, are considering installing a whole new wireless internet service in Fort Fairfield and the surrounding area. They recently discussed the use of town owned property on Center Limestone Road for the first of their tower locations with Fort Fairfield town administrators.. Airocomm claims their download speed is significantly faster than what is currently available under wireless. “We've been told it is the same speed as Time/Warner which is important if you're doing much video streaming and that's becoming more and more popular,” said Fort Fairfield town manager, Dan Foster.
The company's goal is four to six towers in the Fort Fairfield area that will cover the entire Fort Fairfield area plus they're exploring the Presque Isle and Caribou Markets, as well. “They're using Fort Fairfield as a focal point. They met with us because they would like to put a tower on our property on Center Limestone Road where Aroostook Technologies has put a tower.”
Currently, Aroostook Technologies currently has a 15 year renewable lease on that site for the same service where they are currently serving 90 customers.
“The agreement with Aroostook Technologies was something that we initiated around three years ago. We had a number of people who had no high speed internet at all. We talked with Aroostook Technologies and Kevin at North Star Towers and basically what we said was if you're willing to put up the infrastructure, we would be willing to help with some of the cost of getting that up primarily because our population density is low. It's an investment to put that tower up and get that equipment up there and we're looking for ways to have someone make the investment, looking to help them make that investment with the anticipation of not having a high return initially because of our low density population but creating the ability for anyone in Fort Fairfield to have access to high speed internet,” said Foster.
Airocomm claims it has the resources to be able to set up a high speed wireless infrastructure. “What they're offering in terms of speed and what they're offering in terms of cost is very, very competitive with what you're paying for now. I'm kind of optimistic that they're going to be able to do this,” said Foster. I think it will be a big benefit for people who cannot access Time/Warner. If you do any kind of video streaming at all, if you have NetFlix or anything like that, wireless is slow and I think that this could be a great opportunity for us.” Foster drafted a lease agreement that is similar to the one signed by Aroostook Technologies a couple of years ago. “The only thing that I changed was the payment. My recommendation is the base rent would be zero for the first year and for each year and the year after it would be $1,200 per year. So they would make a minimal payment to the town. This would all be contingent upon them actually providing the service. If they're not providing the service then this agreement is in default then we would need to turn around and see whether or not we want to do something new with them or they would need to take the tower down. The whole idea is they're planning to provide a service that our citizens currently don't have available to them. That they're willing to do that, we're willing to help them with the cost of getting this equipment in place and being able to provide the service.”
A public hearing on the proposed lease was scheduled for 12:00 noon on April 17, the publication date of this newspaper. While the notice went to the newspaper in neighboring Presque Isle for publication as early as April 3, that same information was not shared with the Fort Fairfield Journal for their April 3 edition. Notification of the public notice was given to the Fort Fairfield Journal not by the town office, but by a private inhabitant in town.
Update: The Fort Fairfield town council approved the lease agreement with Airocomm at their April 17, 2013 meeting.
Fort Fairfield Journal ©2013 David R. Deschesne, All Rights Reserved