“In Newport alone, there’s 400-some
homes right there, that all they could get was dial-up,” Mostrom says, adding
that New Matamoras and
Cutler are among other communities anxiously awaiting the arrival of broadband.
The funds allocated to Smart Networks
yesterday were the remainder of a grant previously awarded to the county via
ConnectOhio to improve broadband service to rural areas. Mostrom says these
funds, along with revenue generated from new customers, should allow the firm
to finish building and then maintain the network.
“As the revenue is generated this will
allow us to put up what we call the ‘hollow towers’ to reach people in the hollows,”
he explains. “It’ll also let us do some marketing into areas where there is
For example, in addition to Marietta,
Belpre and Beverly, the signals reach (or will reach) into Parkersburg, Vienna,
Williamstown and Saint Marys.
Some of the grant funding was first allocated
to Washington-Morgan Community Action for low-income residents to attend
computer classes, then receive financial help with a computer and modem. But
response to the program was virtually non-existent, so the Commissioners have
redirected the funds to buy modems for lower-income residents who apply.
Contact Community Action at 373-3745 for more on that.
If you'd like more information on Smart
Networks and its ongoing project to bring high-speed Internet service to all
of Washington County and beyond, go to gosmartnetworks.com
or call toll-free 1-888-546-4359.