explains changes

CALUMET — Charlie Hopper, president of Pasty.Net, told the Keweenaw County Board at its regular monthly meeting that he would like new wording to the contract between the county and the internet provider.

“Basically, we want to give the county the flexibility to do what’s best in the county’s interest,” said Hopper, while discussing the contract.

With the new wording Hopper proposed, the county would more easily be able to end the contract should it want to do so in the future. Currently, the county provides tower space for broadband equipment in exchange for internet services.

“We have hundreds of users that we serve, many of them year-round, a lot of them (are) seasonal (and) we want what is in their best interest as well,” Hopper added. “Maintaining this sense of presence on the tower is very important to those county residents, and we just want to protect their interests, as well.”

If the proposal is adopted, it would not technically change the current arrangement between the county and the provider, but the county would pay for internet service, and in turn, Pasty.Net would pay for use of the three towers owned by the county. Under the agreement, Pasty.Net would pay as much to rent space on the tower at the former Calumet Radar Station atop Mt. Horace Greeley, as for the other two towers combined.

“In fact, the best way to think of it would be value-per-location of the towers,” Hopper said. “I would say that the Mt. Horace Greeley tower is the most valuable, because without that, neither one of the other towers would be served. We wouldn’t serve the mountain lodge, we wouldn’t serve Eagle River, and so what we would consider that $240 per month, $120 of that would be for Mt. Horace Greeley, and the other two locations would be $60 each for the other two towers.”

Hopper said there are many areas in which Pasty.Net pays $50 per month for space on towers, such as in Rock in Delta County and at the K.I. Sawyer airport.

“So, $60 a month for these two locations (Eagle River and the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge), and $120 a month for Mt. Horace Greeley,” Hopper said. “That’s basically what we’ve got to recommend. We’d also like to just point out the obvious that if there is another vendor using the tower, doing like we’re doing with unlicensed frequencies and serving, that they be required to pay the same amount.”