Local Internet could get 10 times faster

Wireless technology coming to Polk County ahead of schedule

POLK COUNTY -- Internet access is about to get at least 10 times faster in most areas of Polk County.

It wasn't supposed to be here until 2012. However, thanks to a concerted effort by community leaders and a local businessman, high-speed Internet access service is expected to launch in Monmouth, Independence and Dallas by January.

Independence City Manager Greg Ellis, Monmouth City Manager Jeff Hecksel and Independence Mayor John McArdle created a group called MINet (Monmouth Independence Network) to bring fiber optic broadband to local communities.

"Now we're about to have the opportunity to upgrade our technological, therefore our communications, presence not only in Polk County but throughout the world," said McArdle.

"The possibilities for WOU and for other businesses large and small are incredibly exciting."

In early October, MINet hooked up with Independence businessman John Conley, who owns a local professional consulting firm, PIC Professional Services, LLC.

Following initial negotiations with MINet, Conley established Ash Creek Wireless.

Through the company, Conley intends to buy surplus bandwidth from the MINet group and in turn offer high-speed wireless Internet access to small business and residential customers.

Ash Creek Wireless service plans will range from a minimum of 256Kbps (or kilobytes per second) to 768Kbps.

"The minimum of 256K is comparable to Qwest's DSL service," Conley said.

"For example, I am currently using a dial-up service connected to my 56Kbps modem. Because of line quality I am only able to get about 25Kbps from my modem. Wireless internet access will increase that by a factor of 10.

"I will be able to upload and download data 10 times faster than I do now."

Conley expects the broadband access packages to start at about $50 per month.

The service will include a wireless connection between a home or small business and Ash Creek Wireless access points located around the county.

For example, one set of access points will be located on the water tower in Independence. The access points in Dallas will be located on the grain elevator near the mill.

"It's very similar to having a satellite dish on your house, but in this case, your antenna is aimed at an access point rather than a satellite," Conley said.

"We had been told we wouldn't get this technology for at least nine years," Ellis said.

"This is a great example of how we don't wait around to have our problems solved for us," McArdle said.

The project represents an investment of more than a half a million dollars.

"This is great news for all of us in Polk County," McArdle said.

"The opportunities are endless."

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