Broadband being brought to rural Harrison areas

NEW ATHENS — An Internet company in Harrison County is aiming to bring a new high-speed Internet service that will serve rural customers who have struggled with poor satellite signals.

Imperial Networks, with the help of local farmer and entrepreneur James Coffelt, has raised two of the projected four towers planned since the start of this project. The first tower went up July 25 near Tappan Lake. Once the Tappan Lake tower was in place and secured, Bowers Contracting rolled its crane into New Athens. The second tower was erected at the Lodge, owned by Coffelt.

Crews for Kovarik Excavating & Hauling LLC secured the second tower using four bolts on each of the three legs of the tower that already were cemented 5-feet deep in concrete.

“He’s been a big team player (on the project),” said Imperial Networks Vice President Larry Bertolino about the owner of that company, Damian Kovarik.

Bertolino, who also runs myLocalPCpro in Cadiz, said the progression has gone beyond expectations. He said the progress has included providing Internet service for county residents that have been left out, while other Internet providers covered the villages and more populated communities. The overall plan is to cover the hills of Harrison County with a high-speed Internet signal. Until now, that Internet has been expensive, unreliable or unavailable through satellite technology.

Imperial Networks’ technology is different, said Bertolino. The technology will use ultra high frequency and microwave. That means it will broadcast without taking into consideration clouds and other inclement weather situations as traditional satellite requires. The bandwidth will be unlimited and there will be no caps on how much a customer can use.

“It’s all you can eat,” said Bertolino. “You can use as much as you need to.”

Imperial Networks Operations Director Katie Bertolino said the fiber line will be dug in a few weeks and the third tower is in the works. That tower will be somewhere near Jewett. There’s a waiting list for the first roll-out next month, but the company still is taking information from interested potential customers. Within a few weeks, the testing phase begins. Imperial Networks officials have not released pricing for the service, but they said the cost will be competitive.