Carl Junction pulls out of partnership with Wi-Fi provider

Carl Junction pulls out of partnership with Wi-Fi provider

Carl Junction has pulled out of a deal with Wi-Fi provider Aire Fiber. The two had agreed to a public private partnership in March. Although the partnership is no longer, the city-wide Wi-Fi service will still be coming to town.

Because Carl Junction lacks a solid Wi-Fi connection, city officials worked for years to get better service in the community. After drafting a deal with Aire Fiber, council members voted 5 to 3 against funding the $320,000 investment.

“We had areas in town that had no connectivity. In the past and past councils, they’ve allowed me to push for either getting the fiber optics system or now with this system too. As councils change, direction can change too,” says Carl Junction City Administrator Steve Lawver.

“There was a couple of the alderman that was concerned about the use of city money and I tried to explain to them that this would not be a bond issue, this would be money that we’ve already accumulated, there would be no tax increase,” says Carl Junction Alderman Tim Smith.

Some aldermen were also concerned that the minimum quota of residents signed up for the service had not been met. Smith thinks that would not have been a problem once Aire Fiber came to town.

“Several of us were confident that that shortfall would have been met as soon as some of the contracts began to expire, soon as the business was actually started,” continues Smith.

Regardless of the city pulling out of the deal, Aire Fiber found that the interest level was so high and company officials decided to independently move forward with the plan.

In the original agreement, the city would have paid for and provided the locations that Aire Fiber needed to set up their equipment and in exchange, the city would receive 10 percent of the gross revenue. Now, the city has a typical water tower lease agreement with the company, something Smith thinks is a missed opportunity.

“I feel like the city’s lost out on a nice income that we could develop our parks with, we’ve been trying to get a method of paying for a sports complex, I think this would’ve been an avenue to help develop a new sports complex for our children, but we’ll manage we’ll find another way,” continues Smith.

Aire Fiber says that water tower installations will occur sometime next month and home installations will follow.