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5/21/2010 3:25:00 PM
Minocqua to move ahead, provide high speed wireless Internet
Town board OKs spending up to $50,000 to construct three towers
Residents of Minocqua and some adjacent communities who now do not have access to high speed Internet service may soon have that need filled.

Tuesday night the Minocqua town board approved spending up to $50,000 for the construction of three 180-foot towers in the town that would provide wireless high speed Internet service to many area residents who are not currently provided that service.

SonicNet of Phillips will operate the system and the town will receive $1 a month from each subscriber to help the town recoup the money it invested in building and installing the towers.

Jeff Collins of SonicNet told the supervisors his company would then provide and install the equipment that each home or business would need to receive the Internet signal broadcast from the tower.

Collins said the company would provide two levels of service, one costing $39.95 per month, the other which would include a higher level of service, would cost $49.95 per month.

The town and Collins have decided that the three towers will be located near the town ice arena, the old Mercer Lake stump dump site and near the old town dump along Bo-di-lac Road.

In addition to approving spending the money to construct the towers, supervisors also approved entering into an agreement with SonicNet for the service, seeking conditional use permits from the county for the construction of the three towers and petitioning for zoning changes on the properties if changes were needed.

Town chairman Joe Handrick said the plan meets one of the first recommendations that had come some years ago from an area task force.

"We have to view this as an investment for the town," Handrick said. "We'll be able to provide the service to town residents, businesses and visitors to the community."

"We'd be derelict in our duty if we did not do this," supervisor Bryan Jennings said.

According to Collins, the cost of the towers is about $15,000 each. He also said it is still likely that 100 percent coverage will not be possible, but a very large percentage of town of Minocqua residents will be able to receive a signal from the towers.

"And in some of the other cases we can do some additional things to provide the service, Collins said. "But again it's nearly impossible to get 100 percent coverage. We will try to get service to as many people as possible. Why wouldn't we?"

"I think it's a great idea," supervisor John Thompson said. "I don't mind spending the money if there is a return."

Collins said in other communities where the service has been provided he has conducted polls that indicate some visitors or seasonal residents stay in the area longer due to the service.

"That means they spend more money by staying longer," Collins said.

The towers and related equipment could be up and installed within 90 to 120 days.

2010 paving plan

Supervisors approved the 2010 plan for paving roads within the town. They also authorized town public works director Butch Welch to seek bids for the paving work.

Supervisors agreed that portions of Hixon Road, Sylvan Shores Road, Poplar Drive and Brown Road should be repaved. The town budgeted $160,000 for the work. If bids come in low enough it's possible town officials could agree to pave other areas, depending on the cost for the additional work.

In other business:

• Supervisors agreed to go along with the request by some residents near the Shari Lane boat landing to not make any improvements to the site. The residents had filed a petition asking the town to leave the landing alone and make no improvements.

• Supervisors approved a request from the Pine Cone Boutique to allow them to raise a tent on the business's property for an upcoming sales event.

• The town board approved a request for a conditional use permit from Sean Hobena so he can open Bad Bones BBQ Shack and Catering in a now vacant building at 201 Milwaukee St. The building formerly housed a bakery.

The business has been operating until now strictly as a catering business out of Hobena's home.

• Before the town board's regular meeting, the group met quickly as the town's Board of Review and immediately adjourned the meeting until Aug. 17.

Joe VanDeLaarschot can be reached by email at jvandelaarschot@lakelandtimes.com.



Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, November 28, 2011
Article comment by: Victoria La Frenier

Hi I have sonicnet and am very happy with it. I have a friend who is interested. Do you have service to 7863 Hacker Dr, Minocqua? I would like to let her know.

Thanks, Vic




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