MI Town ISO Single Cell Tower, Seeking Long-Term Connection

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Ionia, Michigan has historically struggled with internet and cell service, so a new initiative called Project Rising Tide has chosen the town to participate in their program to resolve the issue, the Ionia Sentinel-Standard reported. Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder created Project Rising Tide to help communities struggling find solutions, and for Ionia, the solution may be a new cell tower in the downtown area.

A connectivity subcommittee was formed at the January 15 Rising Tide committee meeting, and it will be chaired by city council member and director of technology for the Ionia County Intermediate School District, John Milewski. 

According to Milewski, the service issues stem from the downtown area being located in a valley, and heavily insulated buildings blocking signals. Milewski said bringing connectivity to the town will be beneficial to everyone in the area, and many local business owners agree.

Stephanie Nemeth, owner of Aunt Stephie’s restaurant, said she often hears customers complain about the complete lack of cell service in her business and around the town. Poor connectivity has negatively affected some business owners, keeping them from having easy access to basic necessities such as credit card machines connected to WiFi and the ability to activate phones at a local business called YCD Wireless.

Though business owners have found ways to temporarily solve the problems, such as connecting credit card machines to extra phone lines via dial up and using cell phone boosters, they say they are eager to see service improve. According to the Sentinel-Standard, Milewski said he hopes to have a tower installed in the valley, preferably one that the provider pays for, but is yet to find an interested company. Milewski remains hopeful that the Rising Tide Program will give the community the “extra push” it needs to solve the connectivity issue.

January 29, 2019

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