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April 17, 2021

2/5/2021 11:08:00 AM
NB wireless internet project on track, city council hears

Genesis, a wireless internet service provider, based in Braham, anticipates having point to point wireless available for customers in North Branch by the end of this month.  

The work is proceeding well on equipping 120 foot towers in the North Branch area, currently pouring footings for towers, which will cure for a couple weeks.  The North Branch City Council contracted with PCS Technologies for equipment with the overall project estimated at $464,870. Genesis is paying a $10 annual tower lease fee to the city to provide service.

The strategically placed North Branch towers will transmit to Genesis customers who have a receiver installed atop an antennae on a home rooftop. According to Genesis,  the company will test your site to make sure a signal is achievable.  Signal reception can often be affected by topography or even tree cover. If unable to get the Genesis signal you won’t be charged for the evaluation.  Equipment is $9.95 per month to lease and monthly charges for varying Internet speeds range from $45 to $95.

The North Branch City Council moved forward on wireless Internet enhancements after studies and a task force review determined that fiber optic or physical cable or wire would not be feasible due to costs.  Several tower sites already in existence are being co-located upon and three new towers were given permits recently to be built new at 120 feet.

Council was told last week by City Administrator Renae Fry that interested customers can begin contacting Genesis at any time, www.genesiswireless.com or e mail her at city hall and she can explain the upcoming process.

North Branch is partnering with Genesis to fill in the chronic Internet service gaps.  

The city was able to dedicate the $400,000 plus of funding by directing CARES relief monies into what would have been unbudgeted extraneous covid-19 containment and prevention expenses.

Mayor Jim Swenson said last week there is an “unlimited number” of customers the Genesis system could potentially serve, but the goal of this phase is to first get adequate Internet to people who currently don’t have Internet.

In other business last week the council, with Amanda Darwin, Mayor Jim Swenson and Patrick Meacham attending in person in the chambers and Blomquist and Neider participating remotely— approved steps to advance a new apartment complex south of the Fairview Medical Clinic and north of the Ecumen community.  The subdivision agreement and a new easement alignment process were unanimously okayed for Falcon Apartments, a market rate development geared towards families.

~ The appointment of Peter Schaps to the Parks Trails & Open Space committee was approved.


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