Broadband wireless Internet access in county is expanding
The coverage area of a high-speed broadband wireless Internet access system being deployed in Morgan County is expanding. The system is being installed by World Airwaves of Winchester, which is a subsidiary of Visual Link of Winchester. The broadband system will operate primarily on the 2.4 gigahertz frequency.
The Morgan County Commission had contracted with World Airwaves more than a year ago to put in the broadband wireless system. The county will receive a 10% fee of the revenues to compensate for the use of public lands and equipment.
Most of the towers for the wireless system are in place and the system is ready to go, said Mark Bayliss of World Airwaves. Locations of existing microwave towers and repeaters for the system in Morgan County include Cacapon State Park, the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department, the Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Department, Morgan County War Memorial Hospital and the Ice House.
The Cacapon State Park overlook tower is their primary distribution point for Morgan County to their data center in Hampshire County Mountain, said Bayliss.
The Cacapon State Park tower site has a solar-power unit that was installed to provide back-up power if the electrical power goes out. The company is now moving all their sites completely to solar power.
They have been conducting site surveys to determine signal strength in coverage areas, he said. They had a phenomenal signal from the tower mounted on the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department building. They are also putting up a 60-foot tower by the fire department. Signal strength at the Industrial Park and off the tower on the ridge in Cacapon State Park along U.S. Route 522 is quite good too.
Tests also show surprisingly good coverage on sections of Route 9 on the west side of Cacapon Mountain, he said. Customers should have a line-of-sight view of one of their towers for the most effective coverage, though sometimes it works without line-of-sight connections, said Bayliss.
Clusters of homes and farms along Route 9 West should have a clear shot of the tower for wireless Internet service, he said. In many counties, real estate contracts are now contingent on whether the home can get broadband Internet access so people can work from home, noted Bayliss.
Direct link to Internet core
The broadband wireless access system creates a direct line back to northern Virginia independent of any poles or infrastructure, said Bayliss. Data is sent using line-of-sight microwave towers that are strategically placed to carry the signal over long distances.
World Airwaves has built a data backbone to northern Virginia where key peering points connect the Internet to other core Internet distribution sites all over the world, said Bayliss. About 80% of all Internet traffic in the world goes through this juncture, he said.
The new broadband wireless system incorporates the new IPV6 Internet protocol, to which all systems must soon upgrade. IPV6 can handle more IP addresses and more communications devices, said Bayliss. The move to IPV6 protocol is "good for community research and development," he said.
Most businesses are looking at having the capability for two Internet connections, said Bayliss. That way if an electric pole gets hit or electric power is otherwise knocked out, they can continue business, he said.
Bayliss talked about a recent two to four-day outage in Charleston and Parkersburg where emergency services, hospitals, banks and businesses lost communications because there weren't two diverse pathways.
A standard high-speed wireless Internet access plan has a 25-30 times faster connection than dial-up. Bayliss' company plans to also provide a low-cost wireless broadband Internet access plan that would be four times faster than a dial-up connection for those that don't need the high-speed connection.
The connection would be live 24/7 and one could browse the Internet and be on the telephone at the same time. The cost will be about half of a standard monthly residential Internet rate, said Bayliss.
Frontier Technology is
Frontier Technology is their distributor for sales in Morgan County, said Bayliss. They have been adding customers online and are training in installations and site surveys, he said. DSL service is also available in downtown Berkeley Springs. For more information, call Bayliss at World Airwaves at 540-667-6431 or Frontier Technology at 304-258-6600.
Moving West Virginia forward
Bayliss' company wants to help move West Virginia forward by bringing broadband into depressed areas as an economic development
tool. Bayliss is also putting up an IPV6 broad-band wireless Internet access system in Parkersburg.
Bayliss' company is looking at serving areas in West Virginia with larger populations as well as places that are slightly populated.
Telecommunications carriers have virtually ignored West Virginia and there's no excuse for it, said Bayliss. West Virginia is closer to the center core of the Internet, he notes.
Bayliss feels the state has phenomenal potential and resources such as land, electric power and water to attract technology companies. Morgan County is now a model for the broadband wireless Internet access, he said.
County Administrator Bill Clark is excited about the potential of the broadband wireless Internet access system for economic development and attracting businesses to Morgan County.
Governor says it's crucial
Governor Joe Manchin said in his August 17 column that bringing high-speed, consistently accessible and affordable broadband Internet connections to West Virginia was "a crucial part of our infrastructure and essential to our education, business and economic development plans."
Our beautiful mountainous state makes traditional development difficult, he said. Manchin's goal is having every state resident that wants high-speed Internet access to have at least one provider to choose from by 2010.
Manchin also wants to encourage more West Virginians to learn the benefits of having a home computer with broadband service. Only 55% of state residents now own a home computer.