Summit County will soon have a community wireless network, nearly two years after its first attempt deemed "The Beanpole Project" failed to bring reliable service to the county.
New technology and a partnership with a company named WisperTel has increased the confidence of county planners, after watching a $480,000 state grant originally funding the "Beanpole" network waste away. When Netbeam, the original grant recipient, and then its sister company, Peak Speed, filed for bankruptcy in 2005, the county received criticism for not taking control of the network's assets. It stepped back and began talking with WisperTel, who services 4,000 internet customers throughout much of the state east of Summit County.
WisperTel, who presented its WiMax technology Thursday night at the Our Future Summit gathering, is entering the market to compete with giants like Comcast and Qwest. The goal of the new network is to give reliable access to towns and government, and to help increase options for private citizens and businesses.