Two more Brown County neighborhoods now have access to high-speed, fiber-optic internet.
Residents along Greasy Creek/Bear Wallow Hill and State Road 135 North between Bean Blossom and Fruitdale can sign up at any time to get service, said Dani Dean, area marketing and sales coordinator for Mainstream Fiber Networks.
Those areas contain about 120 homes, she said.
This expansion is using the main fiber line, which Mainstream ran five to seven years ago to connect all Brown County Schools campuses. Mainstream recently cleared some “logistical permitting” problems in order to extend service from that line to nearby neighborhoods, Dean said.
Some homes already have connected, she said.
The new availability area runs from the county highway garage at Old State Road 46 and Greasy Creek Road, north on Greasy Creek, then turns at the intersection with Bear Wallow Hill Road and runs to about the top of the hill.
The Bean Blossom/Fruitdale expansion area runs up State Road 135 North from Railroad Road to Three Story Hill Road.
In order to receive fiber to their homes, people in the current expansion areas need to call Mainstream and pay a connection fee of about $450, Dean said. Thereafter, service is $59.95 per month for the basic package of 50 megabits per second downloading and 25 mbps uploading with unlimited data usage.
The highest speed the company offers is 1 GB per second downloading.
Counting the 120 new homes, Mainstream, a Brown County-based company, has opened high-speed internet service to about 400 people.
In the last six months of 2017, Mainstream invested almost $950,000 in Brown County, CEO Bryan Gabriel said late last year.
Many customers in the new expansion area have other options for internet providers already, Dean said. However, Mainstream is also working on designing expansions for other areas.
Right now, the company is collecting interest surveys to extend into the Lake LaSalle neighborhood and other parts of Fruitdale, she said.
The survey process is how Mainstream determines where it may expand next, she said. Whereas people in the Greasy Creek and 135 North expansions already had a main line that Mainstream could split off from, creating a new line in other areas takes more time and resources.
“The best thing people can do is take the interest survey,” Dean said. That allows the company to see where possible customers live and determine how they might be grouped into a zone for service.
Once a service zone has been determined, the company typically likes to see 75 percent of residents show interest before they will start engineering a route, she said.
Two other Brown County neighborhoods have cleared that first hurdle of interest: the Henderson Ridge subdivision, including the portions of Mt. Liberty Road and Four Mile Road leading to it; and State Road 135 South from Reed Hollow Road to the Brown County State Park Horseman’s Camp.
Those folks need to “just hang tight,” Dean said; “there’s a pretty extensive list of things we need to do internally before we can move forward.”
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