Tyringham feels power of wireless broadband technology


TYRINGHAM -- Since mid-December, Tyringham has been living in the 21st century.

That's when broadband access reached the small hilltown community through a joint project between the town and WiSpring.

Now, through wireless broadband technology, school kids, police, town officials and Netflix watchers can benefit -- as long as they have hooked up their home or business.

According to town officials, perhaps the biggest impact has been on families with school-age kids.

Before the arrival of broadband, they would have to travel to Lee to find broadband access for homework and school-related research.

Today, Tyringham's former schoolhouse serves as a community center, and it has been hooked up to the wireless broadband network.

Now it is common to see townsfolk of all ages at the schoolhouse cruising the Web, doing business online or doing their homework.

"The biggest change is in the facial expressions on the parents of school kids," said Holly Ketron, a member of the town's broadband committee, "because [the kids] can do their homework now."

Some modest short-term economic benefits are anticipated as well.

"I think it's going to have a big effect on people trying to rent or sell a house this summer," Ketron said. "Before, not many wanted to come here without Internet service."

"We couldn't sell property because people that work from home couldn't move here," agreed Molly Curtain-Schaefer, Tyringham town administrator.

So far, she added, about 40 out of roughly 150 homes have connected to the wireless network.

The topography of the town, basically a long valley, was perfect for the wireless project because the individual antennae have to be within line-of-sight of the broadcast towers, Curtain-Schaefer said. Towns with tall trees and lots of hills might be more difficult to equip with wireless access.

"It's amazing," Ketron said. "When I think back to what it was like last year, this seems like a miracle."

To reach Scott Stafford:
or (413) 496-6241.
On Twitter: @BE_SStafford


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