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TMCNet:  Marianna rents tower space to Internet provider [Jackson County Floridan, Marianna, Fla.]

[July 13, 2011]

Marianna rents tower space to Internet provider [Jackson County Floridan, Marianna, Fla.]

(Jackson County Floridan (Marianna, FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 13--An Internet service provider was given tentative permission to install eight antennas and two 3-foot microwave dishes on the upper-level handrails of one of Marianna's water towers. It will also build a six-by-eight feet concrete pad on the ground nearby for an equipment cabinet. The ground-level equipment supports the overhead telecommunications system for wireless broadband.

In exchange, the city will receive $500 a month in rent for the space.

The deal passed unanimously, subject to legal review of the contract by city attorney Frank Bondurant.

The terms, as stated at the city commission's meeting Monday night, would give Atlanta-based Mainstreet Broadband a five-year contract with the right to renew for four additional five-year terms.

It has an escalator clause that could increase the city's rent over time, in yearly 3 percent increments, according to Dale Laney, a site acquisition specialist who brought the proposal to the city. Laney works for Compass Technology Services, and that company is under contract with Mainstreet Broadband to find suitable tower sites.

It is not an exclusive contrac. Laney said the company will be leaving plenty of room for other renters who may want to reserve space on the city water tower.

He expects that, once the lease is signed, the equipment could be up in 60 days.

"It gives everybody just another option for wireless internet service," he said. "We loop the connectivity between sites with microwave technology rather than using underground or fiber lines." He said he didn't know exactly when the system would go live, because Mainstreet Broadband has several other contracts for other sites that are in various stages of readiness. Rather that putting them each online piecemeal, Laney said the company is going to wait until the majority are ready to put most or all into operation at once.

The coverage areas can go from three to about eight miles out, he said, depending in part on barriers that limit the signals. He said some of the systems are up and running in south Georgia and other parts of north Florida.

"We're trying to blanket that portion of the state and that region in Georgia," he said.

___ To see more of the Jackson County Floridan or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.jcfloridan.com.

Copyright (c) 2011, Jackson County Floridan, Marianna, Fla.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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