New fixed wireless internet service could reach all of Fayette and help a new broadband group



FAYETTE – A proposal from Maine-based Redzone Wireless in Fayette could bring high-speed internet access to the entire city, which currently has significantly limited service.

The Rockland-based company first presented its proposal to the selection committee on October 19 during an executive session. At the end of the session, the board of directors voted to order the city manager “to enter into a letter of intent and to receive a contract proposal from Redzone Wireless for the provision of high speed Internet services”.

The next board meeting, Tuesday at 7 p.m. via Zoom, will include a public presentation of the new service. According to CEO Mark Robinson, the board may also choose to act on this proposal at the meeting.

If the city accepts the offer, Redzone Wireless’s service will provide up to 500 megabits per second, or mbps, upload speeds and download speeds of 100 mbps.

The company says its service would cover 100% of the community, including unserved and off-grid locations.

Fayette is also part of the Western Kennebec Lakes Community Broadband Association, a collective of six cities including Leeds, Mount Vernon, Readfield, Wayne and Vienna. For three years, the organization worked on solutions for the benefit of the six underserved cities. And she recently contracted with the law firm Preti Flaherty to draft an interlocal agreement between the member municipalities, which would allow them to become an association and build their own network.

Association president Joseph Young said the possibility for Fayette to strike a deal with a private company could significantly alter the group’s future goals, adding that they would meet in the future to discuss their plans.

“It is conceivable to me that all of this could work together for the benefit of all cities if they agree that this is a good technology to adopt,” he said.

Robinson said Fayette’s opportunity with Redzone wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of everyone involved in the broadband association.

“It is because of all their hard work that allowed Fayette to be one of the first communities approached by Redzone,” he said, “and to be able to take advantage of this new technology. “

Whatever decisions are made, new technology has the potential to help people across the state with limited Internet access.

“It’s a really interesting game-changing technology that can help us all,” he said.

Redzone is able to accomplish this through collaboration with Tarana Wireless. According to Tarana’s website, its Gigabit 1 technology “delivers fiber-class speeds and quality over long-range line-of-sight connections – in unlicensed spectrum – that are immune to interference and in-place changes.”

The project would also be non-exclusive, meaning the city could still develop another broadband network project at the same time if it so wished.

The network would provide service through four existing carrier-class tower locations at Fayette, Livermore, Readfield and Mount Vernon. These four towers would cover seven sectors and have a collective capacity of 16.8 Gbit / s.

And the company said it could do it all in nine months.

In a timetable provided to the city, the project is split into three phases. The first phase lasts 20 days and consists of receiving the approval of the regional project. Phase two, which is expected to take 60 days, will include final design and engineering, procurement and hardware configuration and testing. The third phase will take around 190 days. This includes permits, rental and transport contracts for towers, set-up and deployment, construction of ground and vertical towers, activation of fiber optic circuits and testing.

The total project is estimated at $ 1,285,380 over five years, with Redzone agreeing to cover 70% of these costs. It would also cover all future costs for operating expenses, technical support, network maintenance and technology upgrades. The 30% community contribution would be $ 385,275.

With the project bringing the Internet to 825 locations across the city, the community contribution for each location is estimated at $ 467.

If successful, residents could expect to pay $ 50 per month for a connection with a 100/20 mbps upload and download speed, $ 75 per month for a 100/100 mbps connection, and $ 99 per month. for a 500/100 mbps connection.

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