- Several thousand people living around Rhinelander could get another high-speed internet access option. But first, Oneida County needs to figure out how to actually permit the tower.
The Town of Crescent approved building a 180-foot tower earlier in 2016. The tower would offer high-speed internet service to most of the 2,000 people who live in the community.
Oneida County needs to approve a permit for the tower, but Town Supervisor Steve Richardson says county leaders still need to figure out what permit to use.
"What sort of permitting would be appropriate?" Richardson said. "It's not a cell tower, it's not a HAM radio tower, a lot of things are in the statutes. So, that's being researched by the county now."
Local internet startup Northwoods Connect will power the tower. The company is working to boost its speeds to faster than Charter's in the next few years.
The town chipped in $20,000 for the tower. The county and the state Public Service Commission are helping pay for the rest through funding and grants.
Richardson says everyone he's talked to in Crescent is on board with the plan.
"[High-speed internet is] not just a luxury anymore," Richardson said. "Broadband access is now the new normal. It's the new necessity, actually. Not only for home businesses and home entertainment, but for school children coming home with homework to do."
The Town has a potential tower site chosen. Richardson expects to have an agreement with the landowner next week, with the tower permitted and built by spring 2017.