BELLEFONTE — In a move that will provide needed broadband internet access to parts of Penns Valley, Centre County will enter into a contract with Centre WISP Venture Company LLC to lease the use of space on the Centre Hall 911 tower.
Centre County Emergency Communications Director Dale Neff said the company looks to have its service up and ready by the fall.
The program is a cost-effective way for a private company to set up their service on the existing tower. A request for proposal was put out in December and Centre WISP Venture Company LLC was the only respondent.
The terms of the contract have Centre Wisp Venture LLC paying the county $10,616.24 for the period of April 23, 2019 through April 22, 2024 to lease the space. After expiration of the initial term, the agreement will automatically renew on an annual basis.
“This is going to greatly benefit the residents of the eastern two-thirds of Penns Valley. They will potentially be able to get functional high speed internet service,” said county Commissioner Mark Higgins. He added the cost of the lease will be a benefit to the county government as well and will offset some costs on the tower.
“We are very happy to have this ball across the goal line because it is very important tour rural residents,” Higgins said.
The county is seeking to have a wireless internet service provider co-locate equipment on two other county-owned emergency communications towers at Woodward in Haines Township and behind the Willowbank Building in Bellefonte, and after Centre WISP completes the project and has service up and running the board will work on the Woodward tower, and then hopefully the Willowbank building site, said Dave Rowles, technical services supervisor for emergency communications. The Willowbank project will help cover the Bellefonte and Spring Township.
Commissioner Michael Pipe said that Centre WISP Venture LLC has a website www.centrewisp.com, with a countdown to when the service will be available. Residents can visit the site to request information about the broadband service.