Connected Burnet County pitches broadband pilot project for Spicewood
Connected Burnet County officials pitched a pilot project to bring high-speed internet to Spicewood by “AirFiber.” The plan would use emergency services district infrastructure and privately owned fiber-optic cable already in place but would require building a new antenna.
The project’s goal is to collect data for grant applications in the group’s mission of connecting all of Burnet County.
Connected Burnet County’s Herb Krasner presented the pilot program concept to ESD No. 9 commissioners during their meeting Wednesday, July 20.
The pilot project, which would serve about 600 Spicewood homes, centers on using an existing tower on ESD property with fiber-optic cable already connected. The tower would broadcast high-speed internet via high-frequency waves to a new antenna, which would then relay it to nearby residences set up to receive it. This method is called AirFiber.
Connected Burnet County was created by Krasner and Burnet County commissioners Damon Beierle and Joe Don Dockery.
The proposed pilot project in Spicewood would be used to bolster grant applications for federal and state funds that will be made available in the fall through the Texas Broadband Development Office. The valuable data gained from completing the project could fortify future grant applications to bring broadband to all of Burnet County.
“We are in the process of developing a countywide plan to figure out what our attack strategy is,” Krasner told DailyTrib.com. “We’re going to leverage off what exists and build to connect everyone in the county.”
Broadband is a general term that refers to high-speed internet that reaches speeds of at least 100 Mbps (megabits per second). Currently, high-speed internet isn’t widely available in some parts of Burnet County.
Krasner, who lives near the Spicewood airport, said he and his neighbors often have connection speeds of 5 Mbps and are charged exorbitant rates by internet providers.
The proposed use of the tower on ESD No. 9’s property is dependent upon access ti existing fiber-optic cable that runs to the tower. The cable is owned by Fiberlight, a broadband infrastructure company that has over 10,000 miles of fiber-optic cable laid across Texas.
ESD No. 9 commissioners, however, raised concerns about the project, particularly use of the tower.
“We want to talk about the stability of the tower,” said board president Bruce Mills.
According to Mills, the tower is over 24 years old and in unknown structural condition. It was originally used for local emergency services dispatching and radio communications.
ESD No. 9 is a publicly funded government entity with a charter that lays out responsibilities for providing fire protection and emergency services to residents within the district.
The commissioners asked Krasner to return with a thorough proposal to their next regular meeting, which is at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at 9805 Texas 71.
3 thoughts on “Connected Burnet County pitches broadband pilot project for Spicewood”
When can we expect High Speed Internet service in Horseshoe Bay?
Move the pilot project out of Spicewood and see what happens. Mr. Krasner is the spokesmodel for a very small, but vocal portion of Burnet County. Fiber companies have a business model they must adhere to and there is a very valid reason Mr. Krasner’s neighborhood does not currently have “broadband” internet access – it does not make good business sense!
Businesses might need “broadband” (25M to 100M+) but to ask taxpayers to fund the enormous build out so the majority of people can play games, post selfies onto social media, write worthless blogs and do next to zero work at all is yet more Joe Biden spend and tax at a time we can’t afford it. We have much ,more worthy projects to tackle and if those 600 “pilot project volunteers” want 100Mbps of internet, move back into metro Austin.
Don’t fall for this pitiful squeaky wheel ploy. I’m much more rural than Mr. Krasner and his neighbors and my 25M connection allows me to do just about anything I want. I pay for it though. I moved out here for a reason knowing full well that 100Mbps of internet access might never be available due to the lack of potential subscribers to satisfy the build out model. I don’t want any additional towers in my views or trenched up right-of-ways & roads to navigate or additional cables hanging on poles. I don’t want American taxpayers to subsidize my desire to stream reruns of Green Acres, Hogan’s Heroes or Mayberry RFD.
I almost forgot………….you don’t need to move into Austin. Move over to Llano. Llano’s electric coop, Bandera Electric Cooperative, is offering 100Mbps as a starter and has packages on up to 1Gig.:
Why can’t the world’s largest and fastest growing cooperative, the lumbering elephant known as the PEC (or is it AT&T), provide broadband to their customer base? After all, the coops are in the best position of anyone to make this work. Are they waiting on old Joey to pay for it? The PEC marketing machine put this gem up on their website:
For more than 80 years, PEC has cultivated a tradition of providing safe and reliable electricity at a low cost to our members. Because of efforts that began generations ago and continue to this day, we have been able to keep up with rapid growth across the Hill Country while providing dependable and affordable service that exceeds industry standards. Our greatest sense of pride comes in serving our membership at the highest levels regardless of the challenges we face.
One of the most important fiduciary duties we owe the membership is to maintain the strong financial health of the cooperative. As our service territory develops, we are working with PEC leadership to make strategic, deliberate decisions to navigate the increasing demands on our system while simultaneously protecting members’ assets. We pledge to protect the members’ investment, built over 80 years, above all else, which is why we have passed a Board Resolution that concludes PEC will not offer broadband services at this time. We have reached this decision after much study and consideration, using reliable data from a variety of sources, including business consultants, feasibility studies, member surveys, and internal expertise. We would like to thank PEC staff for their time and dedication in providing the tools we needed to make our decision.
In the spirit of full transparency, we have set up this site where you will find the Board Resolution and other supporting materials. Once you review the information, we believe you will reach the same conclusion we have: entering a broadband venture at this stage would create unacceptable risk to our members’ assets, service, and rates while failing to enhance the cooperative’s mission to provide safe, reliable, and low cost electricity to our members.
PEC Board of Directors
I suppose when you lose $160,000,000 you can blame somebody else for your poor negotiation skills? $10,000,000 was valid restoration costs. The rest? Poor PEC leadership. So. maybe when we, the membership, pay off the PEC boondoggle in 24 months the PEC might consider offering broadband. I suspect true to form they will wait until Uncle Joey rescues them.
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