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Wildwood Is Looking for an Internet Provider – Again

The city hopes a broadband provider will try a pilot project in the area west of Missouri Route 109, while providers wrestle with the prospect of “extreme installations.”

Richard Kallaus said "it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel” regarding high speed Internet access in , but some residents aren’t so sure.

Kallaus, who chairs the city’s Rural Internet Access Committee, is optimistic. A total of six Internet service providers responded to the city’s Request for Information on how they might solve the long-term problem of how to provide cost-effective service to a mostly rural area. The "unwired" part of Wildwood is home to about 3,000 people.

At a meeting Thursday night, however, residents of the area weren’t as upbeat. The audience of about 20 was disappointed with the breakdown of discussions with Charter Communications to expand the company’s cable network, which led to the city contacting other providers.

The six companies offered a range of ideas to overcome what one called the “extreme installations” needed to serve the area. They ranged from full installations of fiber optic cable to full wireless service and combinations of the two.

Many in the audience had carefully read the companies’ documents and were prepared with detailed questions and criticisms.

  • Would a wireless provider need to build excessively tall towers?
  • Could a fiber optic provider possibly build a network in a reasonable amount of time?

Kallaus pointed out the city doesn’t want to “over-eliminate” potential providers at this point.

The committee hopes at least two finalists will emerge from the group of providers. Finalists will be asked to build a small pilot project in an area roughly bordered by Highway T (St. Albans Road), Interstate 44, the Franklin County line and and .

The six Internet providers who responded to the city include:

  • Bays ET , located in Pacific
  • MicroNet, Evansville, IN
  • Pulse Broadband, St. Louis
  • Saint Louis Broadband, St. Louis
  • Socket, Columbia, Mo
  • Wisper Wireless Internet, Belleville, Il

Wildwood has posted the providers' responses on the city's website.

The committee will meet on Aug. 8 to refine its selection criteria.

James Stinnett July 27, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Wireless can never provide the bandwidth that Charter could offer, nor the other services available from a provider like charter, we don't need a bandaid from some fly by night wireless company, if you can't receive wireless cell phone signals in the rural hilly part of wildwood, how can you expect wireless to service the entire population of Wildwood residents without access to internet. It needs to be 100 percent solution thats still here 10 years from now.
Scott K July 27, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Fiber to door is the only way to go. Older technology like charter is not the way to go, neither is wireless unless you go to a 4G private network, but that would be pricey.

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