proposes new county terms

Contract with Keweenaw County up for renewal in May

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The tower at the former Calumet Radar Station in Houghton Township provides space for equipment for a number of businesses, including Pasty.Net and ShoreWaves, a new competing internet provider.

EAGLE RIVER — The contract for broadband service between Pasty.Net and Keweenaw County for internet service will be up for renewal in May, and Charlie Hopper, president of the internet service provider, proposed contract changes with the board at its regular monthly meeting last Wednesday.

Hopper said that for the past 17 years, the contract has been on a trade basis, exchanging equipment space for services.

“We haven’t exchanged checks or done anything like that,” Hopper said, “it’s just we trade the presence on the tower for the service at the locations: the (Keweenaw) Mountain Lodge, the courthouse, and the Sheriff’s Office.”

Hopper’s proposal calls for placing a dollar amount on both the cost of services provided by Pasty.Net, and rent paid by the provider to the county for use of the towers. With such a contract, Hopper said, the county would be free to contract with another service provider should the board choose to do so.

“So, what I (am) proposing is that we treat the county the same as we treat the state of Michigan,” said Hopper. “We have about a dozen drops for the state of Michigan here in Keweenaw County. We’ve got Fort Wilkins, we’ve got the campgrounds, the office, the gift shop, the marina, all of the different places that we have drops for the public, we also have drops for the private support organizations for the state of Michigan. So, about a dozen of those we have, and we charge them $79 per month. And I (am) proposing to have to have a $79 per month price tag for the mountain lodge, the courthouse and the Sheriff’s Office.”

A drop is a connection point in a network, Hopper explained. It refers to a local area network (LAN). Network drops are typically outlets with an Ethernet jack into which a computer or other network device can be plugged.

“And in return, we would consider the cost of the towers to be basically, like $80 times 3, or $240 a month that we would be paying for the use of the towers.”

The goal of the proposal, Hopper said, is to give the County Board the flexibility to what in the best interest of the county.

“You can see that it’s just a matter of exchanging checks,” he said, “and then at such point in time that there was something that was better for the county to use than Pasty.Net, the county would have the option of dropping Pasty.Net and using the other service.”