Northwoods Connect planning 12 new internet towers in 2019 to reach 95 percent coverage in Oneida CountySubmitted: 01/23/2019
Story By Lane Kimble

Northwoods Connect planning 12 new internet towers in 2019 to reach 95 percent coverage in Oneida County
RHINELANDER - A small internet provider sees the chance to cover up to 95 percent of Oneida County with high-speed service by the end of this year.  To do so, the company needs some landowners to step up.

Paul Osterman's Northwoods Connect currently has about 20 towers that can send broadband internet to homes up to five miles away.  Most are in Oneida County, covering about 60 percent of homes there.  There are around 700 total customers.  

The Rhinelander-based company recently got conditional use permit (CUP) approvals for towers near Bearskin Lake and Skunk Lake, but Osterman says he hasn't found land for towers in Woodruff, Lake Tomahawk, and south of Three Lakes.

"That's the American Dream, you want to keep expanding," Osterman said. "We would love to cover the whole state. Will it happen? I don't know, but it would certainly be amazing if we could do that."

Osterman pays landowners a small fee for using their property when he gets an agreement and also provides his highest speed service to them for free.

The company relies heavily on state grant funding to build its towers. It received more than $200,000 in the last couple of years to build more towers.  In addition to Oneida County's sites, Osterman has plans for new offerings in Florence and Forest counties.

Osterman plans to build about a dozen new internet towers around the Northwoods in 2019. He knows building that many towers in a year will be a challenge, but stories like helping an elderly couple in Minocqua finally get high-speed service a few years ago keep him going.

"They didn't get to see their grandchildren that often and they got to Facetime right there and they were both crying, it was a remarkable moment," Osterman said. "That's when I kind of was like, OK, we're doing something good here."

Osterman plans to apply for more grants when the state announces its next round of funding.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


OSHKOSH, WIS. (AP) - A Wisconsin teenager who was shot and wounded when he stabbed a school resource officer has been ordered to stand trial.

Grant Fuhrman, 17, is charged as an adult with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the Dec. 3 attack at Oshkosh West High School.

Fuhrman is accused of stabbing Mike Wissink multiple times with a barbecue fork. Court documents say the officer was unable to reach his stun gun so he shot Fuhrman twice. Neither was seriously injured.

The school was evacuated and classes were cancelled for two days.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - High school and middle school cross country skiers spent the weekend competing in Rhinelander for the annual Ascension Northwoods Nordic Hodag Challenge.

The two-day event attracted teams from more than 10 different schools across Wisconsin, and some schools from Michigan.

Head Coach for Rhinelander Nordic Charil Reis said her team spent a lot of time hitting the trails thanks to the generosity of mother nature. 

"We've been blessed with a lot of snow this year, so we haven't had to do a lot of indoor type of practice," said Reis.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The League of Women Voters of the Northwoods held a session on how to vote in Wisconsin at ArtStart earlier this evening.

They highlighted the voting process including what forms of ID are required.

Co-chair of the group, Debra Durchslag said she was happy after Sunday's turnout.

"I was very pleased to see a new group of interested Oneida county residents who are very much interested to register unregistered voters," said Durchslag

The League is a non-partisan organization devoted to educating the public about local and national politics.

+ Read More

IRON COUNTY - One person died in a snowmobiling incident in Iron County early Sunday morning. The victim was identified as a 47-year-old female.

According to a press release by the Iron County Sheriff's Department, dispatch received a call at 1:52 a.m. reporting a snowmobile crashed on Trail 17 just outside Hurley and the operator was unresponsive.

First responders arrived at 2:04 a.m. and began taking life saving measures. The driver was then transported by rescue sled to Beacon ambulance and then to Aspirus GVH in Ironwood, MI.

After continued life-saving measures, the 47-year-old female was pronounced dead at Aspirus Hospital.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Professional snowmobilers took to the racetrack in Eagle River this weekend. However, they weren't the only ones riding on some top-of-the line sleds.

Arctic Cat was at the derby offering demo rides on their 2021 models. People got a chance to try out the different machines, and put money down on a model of their choice.

Sales director Joe Klosterman said it's important for people to try before they buy.

"We do it to give an experience to the consumer," said Klosterman. "You wouldn't buy a car without driving it. We've also got a new model this year that I think is going to bring a lot of new people into the industry." 

Demo workers took guests out on a 10-mile loop to experience some of the best trails in the Northwoods. Those trails featured curbs, some fresh powder, and lots of bumps to test the machines' suspension.

Klosterman said Arctic Cat sold lots of sleds over the weekend thanks to the promotion.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Sunday he wants state lawmakers to pass a package of bills aimed at curbing youth vaping and educating the public about vaping's potential dangers.

The bills Evers, a Democrat, is requesting would ban vaping and vapor products on K-12 campuses and expand the definition of public health emergencies. Another bill would fund a public health campaign to address youth vaping in the state and a fourth proposal would expand the enforcement capacity of the Departments of Revenue and Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection to prevent vaping products from being sold to minors.

The governor's office outlined his proposals in a press release Sunday.

"As a parent, grandparent, and lifelong educator, I am deeply concerned about the health and well-being of our kids," Evers said in a statement. "Vaping is a serious public health epidemic and it is time to take action."

The governor's office said vaping products pose serious health risks to young users because the nicotine contained in e-cigarettes can harm parts of the brain that control attention and learning.

+ Read More

SUPERIOR - State regulators have approved plans for a $700 million power plant on the shores of Lake Superior despite conservationists' concerns that the facility will harm the environment.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the state Public Service Commission voted 2-1 on Thursday to approve a permit for the Nemadji Trail Energy Center in Superior. The plant will be jointly owned by La Crosse-based Dairyland Power Cooperative and Duluth, Minnesota-based Minnesota Power. Plans call for the plant to use natural gas to produce 625 megawatts' worth of power.

+ Read More
+ More General News