Wireless internet coming to Whitley County thanks to COVID relief dollars

Local News

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) — Widespread, wireless internet access is coming to Whitley County.

The Whitley County Commissioners have signed an agreement with Mercury Wireless to bring broadband internet to the county through a grant from a COVID-19 relief bill.

The commissioners met with most of the current internet providers when funding became available through the COVID-19 relief bill and Mercury Wireless was able to meet the time restraints. The funds from the grant must be spent by Dec. 30, 2020.

“Internet has been a top-priority concern for the Commissioners, and we’ve been diligently working on this for two years. We want this project to benefit the whole county,” said George Schrumpf, Whitley County Commissioner.

Mercury Wireless already planned to provide service in Whitley County with Connect America Funds through the Federal Communications Commission. This partnership with the commissioners allowed more of Whitley County to be served.

“Internet access is an important part of today’s workplace, education and economic development initiatives. The goal is to provide internet access to as many as possible. If a child is sent home from school with homework, we want them to be able to complete the work,” said Don Amber, Whitley County Commissioners Chairman.

Internet will be available through a wireless connection with Long-Term Evolution (LT) technology. In phase-one, 10 towers will be placed on established structures in Whitley County.  Mercury Wireless will provide consumer connections up to 100 Mbps DL by 10 Mbps U.L.

“We are choosing wireless because of the terrain of Whitley County and the time restraint but will have fiber optics installed where it’s appropriate. Our concern was to maximize areas in the county that are underserved. We want every resident and business to have the ability to access the internet whenever they need to,” Amber said.

A timetable on when the new service would be available was not announced.

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