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Horseshoe Bay to install wireless towers, boosting internet coverage

Planned wireless internet towers in Horseshoe Bay

A map of three towers to be installed in Horseshoe Bay by mid-spring. The towers will bring wireless internet to nearly 90 percent of Horseshoe Bay households. Courtesy image

Three new wireless towers set for installation in Horseshoe Bay by mid-spring will dramatically boost the city’s internet coverage, providing a signal to more than 90 percent of households.

The towers are paid for with federal funds from the American Rescue Plan.

“It will create a more reliable internet signal,” Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith said. “We think we have everything covered.”

The structures should be strong enough to withstand negative temperatures.

“We ordered technology that’s supposed to not freeze when it’s 20 below,” Clinesmith said. “That should help make our towers more protected.”

The city was prepared to install the towers in November 2022, but the Federal Aviation Administration grounded its plans.

“They gave us a stop-work order so they could make sure the towers wouldn’t interfere with the flight path out of the (Horseshoe Bay) airport,” Clinesmith said. 

While two of the towers have already been approved, the height of the third one might need to be dropped a few feet to ensure pilot safety.

If the city fails to gain approval from the FAA for the third tower, it will still move forward with the other two, Clinesmith said.

“We know we’ll have to pay the crew to come back out, but we need to get this resolved,” she continued. 

Talks to improve internet service in Horseshoe Bay have been ongoing for several years, leading the city to form a broadband committee to examine ways to increase internet connectivity.

Initially, Horseshoe Bay officials kicked off discussions by talking to internet service providers about in-ground fiber-optic internet. 

“We wanted a hard connection,” Clinesmith said. “We studied it for a year, and we were all ready to go.”

The city opted for wireless after learning the area’s geography wouldn’t allow for in-ground fiber lines.

“(Providers) did some sample trenching and said, ‘No, it can’t be done out here,’” Clinesmith said. “They said they could install some (lines), but it wouldn’t be in a straight line. They were going to have to tear up our streets and our irrigation systems, and we decided that couldn’t happen.”

Although the new service is wireless, providers plan to link the towers with in-ground fiber through the city’s utility lines to increase the overall strength, Clinesmith said.

Once installed, all internet access provided by the towers will be contracted to residents through private vendors such as VGI Technology and Zeecon.

2 thoughts on “Horseshoe Bay to install wireless towers, boosting internet coverage

  1. There is a lot of area in Llano County that needs service. That is the way it usually works. The poor keep getting poorer while the affluent get all the tax dollars.

  2. The American Rescue Plan, with taxpayer money, is paying for the internet towers for the Horsehoe Bay area. There are areas of Burnet County that are more economically stressed. These areas have families that could have really used reliable internet access when their children were forced to learn remotely during the Pandemic. Again, the more affluent areas will get the help first while the poorer areas will not see any needed help.
    Marie Denniston

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