by Marissa Lorenz
Local businesses and residents of Kremmling were excited to learn recently of a new broadband internet service that would be coming to the area. Visionary Broadband, which specializes in providing wireless high-speed internet to mountain communities across the Rocky Mountain region, had made successful agreements with the Town and the Hospital District to install two antennae, claiming to then be able to cover most of Kremmling proper. Services were anticipated to be available the week of July 29 and, indeed, Visionary is now scheduling technician appointments to assess availability at individual locations.
Visionary representative Aaron Macarelli first approached the Kremmling Town Council earlier this year, stating that Visionary could offer much higher speeds at just slightly higher cost than what was being offered by primary provider CenturyLink. The telecommunication company was granted approval to install an antenna on the water tower, just northeast of town, and another antenna on the new Middle Park Health Community Center. The wireless service is dependent on line-of-site from one of the two installations.
In interactions with both on-line and telephone customer service this week, it was verified that residential services are being advertised at $54.95 for 10 Mbps, $59.95 for 50 Mbps, and $79.95 Mbps for 100 Mbps. Until recently, the fastest speed offered by Century Link was 12 Mbps for $45, though they are now offering up to 40 Mbps for the same price in some locations. Both companies require a technician assessment to determine availability for either one of these higher speed options.
Going online to Visionary Broadband, the map did not accurately map this writer’s address after three tries. In speaking to a telephone service representative, following a 7 to 8-minute wait, it was necessary to walk the rep across a Google map to find the correct residence. Once found, the representative again determined that an in-person assessment of line-of-sight possibility would be necessary.
Initially, it was also indicated that the company was offering a New Market special on installation costs, with Macarelli indicating that installation costs would be waived for an undetermined period of time after launch. The phone representative and a supervisor indicated that $60 installation costs would be waived only for those signing up for automatic payments, and a $5 scheduling fee would be assessed. Macarelli confirmed that this was the case, though he did indicate that a previously-required annual contract was being done away with at this very time. Thus, potential customers could sign up without any time commitment to the service.
Other clarifications, as the service becomes live, include equipment needs and costs. Customers will need a satellite installed on the exterior of their building, one that is smaller than a standard satellite dish seen where Dish services are used. This installation requires property owner permission, so renters will need to have a signed waiver from their landlord. Routers will still be required within the residences and can be rented from Visionary with a $25 one-time fee and a $12 monthly fee, a $209 one-time purchase, or by purchasing one’s own from Wal-Mart, Amazon, or another retailer. Any AC series router should work, according to the Visionary representative, though they recommend NetGear products.
At present, if one were to schedule a technician assessment and/or installation, appointments are being set about a week out from contact. Macarelli expresses enthusiasm about the launch of service and says, “Things are looking good. We’re still finishing some final touches to complete the build, but it’s looking really, really good. We already have a few customers signed up, one week in.”
Town Manager Dan Stolman confirms that the Town agreed to the antenna installation on Town property with the agreement that they would have the option of receiving internet service from Visionary in place of a leasing fee. He was under the impression this week that services were still not fully available, but indicated that, as soon as they were, he’d “be requesting a demo from Visionary to see how the over-air service works and what speeds they can demonstrate.” He thought that a Town decision on taking the service option “would be contingent on the demonstration, evidenced speeds, et cetera.”
More information on this new broadband service can be found at www. vcn.com or by calling 1-888-682-1884
by Marissa Lorenz