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Mercer County, Pa., Launches Wireless Internet Service

County commissioners have approved a $650,000 grant to No Limits Broadband LLC for wireless Internet services in designated unserved or underserved areas of the county.

by Melissa Klaric, The Herald / January 5, 2021

(TNS) — Residents of northern Mercer County who want wireless Internet can now register for for service.

The county commissioners approved a grant of $650,000 to No Limits Broadband LLC of Stoneboro to obtain tower leases, licensing, engineering analysis and electrical installation to make monthly Internet access available to subscribers in designated unserved or underserved areas.

The commissioners had also approved spending $573,265 to purchase hardware needed to provide service to 220 to 335 households.

The proposed coverage area is roughly between Sandy Lake and Greenville.

Residents can request service online www.nolimitsbroadband.net.

Customers would pay a $100 installation fee and monthly fees ranging from $40 to $100.

Although the county commissioners designated COVID block grant funds to buy equipment for the project, No Limits Broadband is responsible for providing the service. With activation of the website, potential customers no longer need to contact the commissioners' office to be placed on a list of subscribers.

Commisioner Scott Boyd said the capability is still being built and not everyone who applies will be able to receive the service right away.

Potential customers will have to be within an about 3 miles of an active tower.

"Ten towers will be active the first of the year, and more will be added when possible," Boyd said. "Remember also that terrain and forestry cover will affect the strength of the signal even within the radius of the towers."

Commissioners used part of the one-time grant of $9,881,956.45, under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to purchase capability for the broadband expansion.

The federal government requires that CARES Act grant money be used to address economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioners have committed the bulk of CARES Act funding to supporting county businesses, but they earmarked a portion to expand broadband Internet service.

Commissioners approved spending a total of $13,791,377 under the grant. They approved 167 grants in tourism, non-profit and for-profit businesses at $1,162,500. The total spent on grants to municipalities and schools was $5,872,415 and county expenses came to $5,583,197.

Boyd had previously said he thinks this money used for broadband services will serve a large number of people.

"For educational purposes, for health benefits as they contact their providers and working from home; all those types of things will be enhanced by this type of capability," Boyd said.

©2021 The Herald, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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