Internet updates focus on the Keweenaw County reunion

Internet updates focus on the Keweenaw County reunion


Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The communications tower between the Keweenaw County Courthouse and the county jail was erected for the use of 911 communications masts. Owned jointly by 911 and the county, the tower will also house internet equipment.

By GRAHAM JAEHNIG

gjaehnig@mininggazette.com

KEWEENAW COUNTY – One year after receiving a request from Pasty.net to add equipment to county-owned towers, the county council stepped in to address the ongoing issue at its regular July meeting Wednesday evening.

Private residents and business owners publicly commented at the meeting on complaints about internet connection outages which have long been detrimental to many businesses.

“When the Internet Doesn’t Work” County resident and business owner Stacy Gibson said, “it means a business disruption that ultimately affects the livelihoods of the people and businesses that rely on it.”

Many businesses use a point of business system, Gibson said, which requires consistent Internet service to function.

“These systems calculate the sales process, payments and credit cards, manage inventory, log employee hours and much more” has continued. “These systems have been significant in managing the increased number of visitors entering the area and are absolutely critical to day-to-day operations.”

This issue has been ongoing since last year. At the regular board meeting in July 2022, Charlie Hopper, general manager of Pasty.net, the county’s Internet service provider, asked the board whether the provider would continue working on extending bandwidth or stick with “the status quo”.

Hopper said he has decided to go ahead with the upgrade and add equipment that will increase bandwidth. The impact, he said, will be the largest on Brockway’s west side at 5 Mile Point. Hopper has sought council approval to proceed with adding and updating equipment on the tower here between the courthouse and the sheriff’s office.

This update will increase bandwidth from about 2 megabits to 100 megabits, he said.

The discussion had been presented by the board several times over the past year, until its regular meeting in June 2023, when Board Deputy Chairman Del Rajala said the board was still waiting for Motorola before the upgrade for 911 could be done and that the county upgrade will come first, which will include the addition of a marine radio mast.

At the meeting Wednesday, Board Chairman Don Piche said part of the problem over the past year is that the tower is jointly owned by 911 and the county.

“That tower was put together for 9/11” he said.

The county waited for Alcom Electronic Communications to inspect the tower for equipment Pasty.net needs to install on the tower from last year.

Hopper provided a printed update to the board in June, in which he said:

“For Pasty.net improvements to be effective for users west of Brockway Mountain — which includes the courthouse and sheriff — the vendor must complete the changes on the courthouse tower, adding that the current 911 transducer (from its current location on the tower) does not need to be moved.”

At the board meeting on Wednesday, Rajala said he had contacted Alcom and informed them of the urgency of the project.

“We asked them to conduct an audit on the tower,” Rajala said. “He said based on what they’re going to put there, which is an additional marine microwave antenna, marine band, we’re still going to keep UHF.

“We’ll claim the top of the tower, he’ll come up with an engineering blueprint, to dictate how much separation there will be, and then he’ll advise Pasty.net where they can move their equipment, and then we’ll take care of the additional antennas as well.”

Rajala said Alcom engineers will be in Eagle River next week to design the tower and give the Council the new location for the Pasty.net antennas.

“We will give this information to Charlie (Hopper) after (Alcom) has established where he will be and Charlie is free to move his antennas – within a month. Like I said, we were hoping you didn’t have to move your gear twice… When I get this information back, we won’t wait until next month, I’ll just pass that information on to Pasty.net so they can go ahead and move their gear.



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