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Project bears fruit as climbers install wireless broadband

Climbers with Elevated Services from Carrollton, Ohio, scale the Verizon cell tower above a Highland Ridge water tank outside of Marietta and Lowell on Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Following 10 months of organization, citizen participation in grassroots needs assessment to disprove federal maps, planning and local political lobbying, the first wireless installation was completed for the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative on Thursday.

Climbers braved winds and freezing temperatures, accompanied by snowflakes. Technicians spliced live fiberoptic lines and crimped connection points.

And then the first 360-degree signal went live on Highland Ridge, outside of Lowell and Marietta, and in view of traffic below on Interstate 77.

“Now we see it and it’s happening and it’s real,” said the founder of the cooperative, David Brown.

With climbers scaling the Verizon cell tower on the ridge at a height of 175 feet, Thursday followed grassroots work to build a trench, power connections and connect a Horizon fiberoptic line from a telephone cable along Highland Ridge Road to the cell tower.

“These are the kind of jobs that we’re trying to create with Washington State Community College and the whole tech innovation center — it’s jobs like this,” said Brown, noting the attendance and work of Elevated Services of Carrollton, Ohio, and Thayer Power and Communication on the ground for Horizon.

What’s Next

Brown also attended Thursday’s Washington County Commissioners’ meeting speaking to a proposal before the commissioners concerning potential membership in the Ohio Association of Regional Councils’ statewide broadband biennial operating budget request.

See a future edition of the Times concerning that political debate and implications.

Keep scrolling down for photos of Thursday, a timeline of how we got here and raw footage of the jobsite

Step into more of the day here

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