The Northampton Board of Supervisors, in an effort to work with Bill Parr of Eastern Shore Communications, as well as Patrick Cody, Chairman of the Adhoc Emergency Medical Services Committee, approved a new zoning text amendment that will clear up conflicts in the current Community Services regulations, and will allow for the construction of towers up to 199 feet.
“How to expand telemedicine to improve medical delivery, reduce EMS demand, Data communication for monitoring and serving is needed. Come up with a plan for all forms of wireless service, planning grant funds to get the technical expertise to move it forward. Funding conversations have already begun. We need a definitive strategy,” Cody said.
Parr added, “Eastern Shore Communications serves incorporated towns in both counties, and they do that using existing structures, we would like to build a 150 foot tower next to the office that would be deployed to serve that area, a fairly large area around Cheriton, and Tower Hill farms–there are still many people that are in need of good broadband service. Mr. Cody makes good points about all the Federal dollars that may be coming our way, but at the end of the day, I still don’t have good broadband service, and many people in the community don’t.”
“I am a big proponent of the broadband. Of entrepreneurs, private enterprise,” Supervisor LeMond said.
Granville Hogg followed, “I too am interested in spreading the internet. I want to get private enterprise in to do these things, there needs to be efforts to be sure we are serving all of the people, this a the thing. There is money available for a planning grant to do this, but we need to capitalize on that opportunity, however on the same token, if it is going to be a long delay we need to move forward, to continue the momentum that we have built so far. There is the need to look for a central plan, I would recommend we would table the motion, so the adhoc committees can look at getting the funds, and we can have an organized layout, or effort. “
Chairman Hubbard asked Mr. Cody, “Do you have any idea how long, reasonably for your group to do this, and long before some of the federal money trickles down.”
“The federal stuff is at least two years out. The state planning grants may be available in February or March,” Cody said.
The consensus amongst all parties is that the Eastern Shore needs a robust network and Internet access of some kind, whether networked systems for pure internet access, telemedicine, or emergency services. The problem is still how to complete the last mile of the network. How service providers may choose from major wireless alternatives such as Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity), WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access)-like services.