It has been a good week! Three of our Tower Climbing Team members were hard at work today and finished getting our Maple Hill tower online in the town of Washburn. We can now begin contacting residents in some parts of the towns of Washburn, Bayview, and Barksdale, that will be served from this tower, to schedule testing and installations of High-Speed Internet service.
Bayfield Wireless received the phenomenal news today that it has been selected to receive funding for its proposed 2021 Wisconsin PSC Broadband Expansion Grant project in the towns of Barksdale, Bayview, and Washburn in Bayfield County. Over the next two years, Bayfield Wireless will continue to expand it’s network to make High-Speed Internet Service of 25Mbps to 1Gbps available to more than 1,000 new locations in these towns that all partnered with Bayfield Wireless along with Bayfield County to make the proposed project possible.
President Biden will soon roll out an infrastructure proposal to not only rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, but also ensure that more onramps to the information highway, or broadband networks, exist for those living in rural communities across the country. For this proposal to be successful all types of technologies and networks need to be leveraged, including fixed wireless.
For the Biden administration and lawmakers in Washington, this will be a once in a generation opportunity to finally close the digital divide and connect millions of Americans to broadband services that have remained out of reach for many in rural areas, and cement in place a legacy that previous administrations have aspired to.
While smart and tailored policy solutions can connect communities to affordable, future-proof broadband today, if lawmakers fail to include fixed wireless as one of the tools in the connectivity tool box then millions of truly unserved Americans will wait years more to gain access to the Internet and taxpayers will be on the hook for billions in unnecessary spending. Fixed wireless networks can be dispatched in a matter of months and cost much less than other types of infrastructure while providing a superior experience for consumers.
Wireless Internet Service Providers, or WISPs such as Bayfield Wireless, have been building innovative communications networks for over twenty years and currently connect more than seven million Americans to the broadband services they use to run their businesses, access telehealth services and educate their children, especially during this truly historic pandemic. In fact, Bayfield Wireless is a WISP currently delivering broadband to our county’s households, businesses and public institutions – a small business which takes great pride in the high-quality and community-oriented service we are able to offer our customers who have been passed over by larger companies for more lucrative financial returns in urban and suburban areas.
WISPs stand ready to join President Biden in his goal of connecting all remaining Americans without access to broadband, and encourage lawmakers to rise above the political gamesmanship of entrenched special interest groups in Washington who are hard at work promoting a one size fits all plan for consumers who deserve better.
A number of people have asked how Bayfield Wireless broadband Internet service compares to the upcoming Starlink satellite broadband service. This link gives some expert perspective on the topic.
Bayfield Wireless uses terrestrial fixed wireless technology that does not rely on satellites. This enables a predictable service that is not impacted by weather conditions and operates through rain, snow, and ice without interruption.
If you look close, you may notice more equipment at the top of Fire Hill Tower in Bayfield, Wisconsin. On Friday we finished lighting up our new tower equipment to provide high speed Internet on the eastern side of the Town of Bayfield, parts of the Town of Russell, and parts of the Red Cliff Tribal lands. On Saturday our crew installed the first Customer site linked to this tower and measured the link speed at over 800 Mbps at the home. Even though this Customer is subscribed to our Power Plus 75.0 package (75Mbps Download Speed, 15Mbps Upload Speed), our equipment located at their home will enable future speed upgrades with no equipment changes. Local residents say “this is a game changer” for our community.
Bayfield Wireless has started provisioning high speed Internet service to trial customers along Happy Hollow Road and Star Route Road on the Western side of the Town of Bayfield, Wisconsin. Wireless link speeds to the new Star Route Tower have ranged from of 200 to 800 Mbps during testing with equipment installed at customer locations. Customers may subscribe to the service at the speed that meets their needs while knowing they have the ability to upgrade their subscription to fiber optic speed levels as their needs increase.
Bayfield Wireless has completed the initial installation of equipment at the top of the Star Route Tower and has started network validation testing. The complete end-to-end service from equipment installed at a customer location through the new Bayfield Wireless network and to end destinations worldwide on the Internet is included in the testing. Initial testing has resulted in excellent speeds and performance even in less than optimal conditions. Testing will be conducted with select trial customers in the Happy Hollow valley on the western side of the Town of Bayfield over the coming weeks.
One of our many Bayfield Wireless supporters, Town of Bayfield Chairman Tom J. Gordon, visited the Star Route Tower construction site to witness the raising of the new structure into the sky. After months of ground preparation, tower assembly, network engineering, electrical work, and safety preparation, the tower was lifted into the sky in three sections by a 200 foot crane from Superior Wisconsin. Our local Town of Bayfield resident iron worker and tower climber, Cody Bermel, completed putting the 178 foot structure in the sky by bolting on the final two lift sections and releasing the crane at the top.
The winter weather and substantial snow on the hill slowed our progress to a crawl and put us behind our schedule goals by about two months. It was, however, a victory to get the crane in and out of the site before the ground frost conditions caused possible further delays to June. We will now begin the work of cabling the tower and getting the radio gear online so we can begin testing the new Internet service with trial customers on the western side of the Town of Bayfield during the month of April 2019.