Tower system discussed

18
By Karli Ratliff

A representative from B2X Online discussed the possibility of upgrading broadband in Stuart at the June 19 meeting of the Stuart Town Council.

B2X, Broadband to the Max, is a wireless internet service provider, according to Logan DeHart, a company representative. He said the company surveyed the town and believes their tower system would work well in Stuart based on the terrain and existing infrastructure.

They would tap into existing fiber, like in the administration building, and put in an antenna to microwave a signal to the nearest tower. They would build a network of wireless microwave shots from tower to tower, which distributes the signal much like a water sprinkler. Customers who subscribe to the service and would get a receiver installed on their house.

The towers use a ‘send and receive system’ much like an old cordless phone that would work through walls, but the signal would be worse farther away from the receiver.

It would work through foliage but would be slower, said DeHart, adding that it would work best with line of sight, when the tower is visible.

Even with their slowest speed, people can still use streaming services, they may run into problems depending on the number of people using it at one time, according to DeHart.

The system is not affected by weather like rain or snow but it is affected by wind according to DeHart.

“As far as the town goes, we could cover the town fairly easy,” DeHart said.

While the tower system may work well, DeHart noted it is no competition for fiber. It is, however, much cheaper and provides comparable speeds.

The company planned to make a full presentation to town officials, but were unable to proceed due to changes earlier in the week.

In other matters at the June meeting, the council:

  • Endorsed a request from the Stuart Rotary Club to support their bid to seek a 501c3 IRS nonprofit designation.
  • Heard from zoning officials that a homeowner on Mayo Court requested a special use permit to erect a tower in his backyard to improve television reception.
  • Heard an update on the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department and Patrick Henry Community College building from Town Manager Terry Tilley. He said that the construction is going well and that town staff are working on getting the financing squared away.
  • Tilley also gave an update on some water leaks that have happened recently. There were four minor leaks around town and a major leak at Blue Ridge Nursing Home. The leak at the nursing home resulted in a loss of 70,000 gallons of water. Town crews believe the leaks were caused by the age of the pipes, but all have been addressed.
  • Mayor Ray Weiland read a thank you letter from the Patrick County Music Association for the council’s financial contribution.
  • Discussed demolishing dilapidated buildings. The process would be lengthy and costly according to Town Attorney Chris Corbett.
  • Weiland said the budget looked good and that collections on utility bills were excellent.