Wireless Internet Tower to provide high speed to the Sugarcreek area

Lt. Governor Jon Husted speaks about Ohio's digital access initiative Monday at Breitenbach Wineries in Dover Township.

DOVER TWP. ‒ The launch of a new wireless broadband tower is being hailed as a “day of transformation” for Tuscarawas County.

The tower, located on Spooky Hollow Road near the Dutch Valley restaurant in Sugarcreek, will be able to provide high-speed internet access to 2,400 households and 125 businesses in the area surrounding the tower. Available internet speeds are expected to increase from 1.4 megabits per second to 524 megabits per second.

Learn more about broadband:Omni Fiber announces plans to provide broadband service in Dover

One of the first businesses connected was Breitenbach Wine Cellars near Dover. His service began on Monday.

“I feel like I’m jumping on the Internet’s interstate highway system,” owner Dalton “Duke” Bixler said.

He said he would now be able to communicate with his suppliers and customers “in a fraction of a second”.

Duke Bixler, owner of Breitenbach Cellars, discusses the launch of the Digital Access Ohio initiative at Breitenbach Wine Cellars in Dover Township.

“I’m just excited for Tuscarawas County and all of the businesses. I think we’re all going to benefit from this in so many ways,” Bixler said.

The launch of the new tower was announced at a press conference Monday at Toolshed at Breitenbach Vineyards, part of Breitenbach Wine Cellars. Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted was on hand for the announcement.

How the network will work

Digital Access Ohio was formed in 2021 by Canton-based Agile Networks to build, own, market and operate up to 75 new telecommunications tower sites, primarily in rural Ohio. Digital Access Ohio will design and build connectivity to these sites and install additional access points on 135 existing towers in the state. Wireless internet service providers can then use this infrastructure to deliver broadband to state residents and businesses.

Uhrichsville-based Smart Way Communications will be the first company to use the towers built by Digital Access Ohio to provide service in the Sugarcreek area.

Ryan Grewell, managing director of Smart Way Communications, speaks about the Digital Access Ohio initiative Monday at Breitenbach Wine Cellars in Dover Township.

Ryan Grewell, managing director of Smart Way Communications, said his company can connect customers to the Internet faster by using wireless instead of laying fiber.

“You don’t have to plan for two years, just like fiber,” he said. “You have to get permissions and everything to access that user. We can use an existing vertical asset that’s already there, put an antenna, set up the antenna one afternoon at someone’s house. They can have the top throughput within an hour.”

Since Smart Way doesn’t have to build the towers, it can reduce its costs of serving residents and businesses, he noted.

The initiative supports Ohio Statewide Broadband Strategywhich the DeWine-Husted administration created in 2019 to improve access for unserved and underserved groups.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted discusses Ohio's digital access initiative Monday at Breitenbach Wineries in Dover Township.

Husted said the initiative is designed to make broadband more affordable for rural residents.

“It’s going to open up the world of health, economics, education to all those families and businesses that didn’t have access to it before,” he said. “In a world that’s increasingly reliant on these kinds of connectivities, you’re literally empowering an entire county, its people, and the businesses that are here to open the doors of operation for everyone to sell things online, working online, doing other things that they couldn’t do before.”

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