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High-speed Internet options increase

Whether or not the county itself is ready for it, high-speed Internet is here.
Through companies such as Insight Broadband, Portative Technologies and soon, Verizon, a couple thousand Harrison County residents are already blazing across the World Wide Web.
‘With our wireless network right now, 60 to 70 percent of the ground and 80 percent of the population can get high-speed Internet. The areas we serve very well are in and around Corydon, up around Crandall and Palmyra, and around Central Barren and Bradford we’ve got good coverage. Then we go down around New Middletown, up to about the city limits of Lanesville, down to Elizabeth and along Highway 11 around Elizabeth,’ said David L. Hulsebus of Portative in Corydon. ‘No matter which route a customer takes with high-speed Internet, there are always going to be shadows due to the terrain of the county. Some residents, particularly those on the western side of the county, it’s going to be difficult to do anything with.
‘But regardless of what the county does, we’re going to continue what we do.’
The Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County has a Request For Proposal on its Web site, with an Aug. 31 deadline. A meeting will be held on Sept. 18 to review those proposals.
‘Internet access was once a luxury, but it is now a necessity for our residents, to aid existing businesses and for further economic development,’ said Barbara Middleton, the Chamber’s executive director. ‘We’re hoping the companies that are here and are coming here do respond. Our goal is to have 90 percent of Harrison County covered with high-speed Internet or broadband-based services. That may be a lofty goal, but it’s what we’re pursuing.’
Bruce Childs, director of external communications for Verizon, said digital subscriber lines (DSL) will be completed in the county by the end of the year, but with that option, customers must live within a 3.4-mile radius of a switching station in order to take advantage of its high-speed Internet.
‘After that distance, the signal starts breaking down,’ he said.
Tentative pricing for Verizon’s basic package ‘ which could change by the time it is introduced to Harrison County ‘ is $14.99 a month, including modem, with a one-year commitment. The first month is free.
The download speed in the basic package is 768 kilobytes per second (kb), with a 128kb upload speed.
That translates into being about 21 times faster than dial-up.
One step higher, another package offered has a download speed of 3mb, with a 768kb upload speed, which is 53 times faster than dial-up. The plan, which includes a wireless router, offers the first month free, $19.99 a month for months two through six, then $29.99 a month for months seven through 12.
Communities where a station will be set up include Laconia, Elizabeth, Central, New Middletown, Corydon, Lanesville, Crandall, Palmyra, Ramsey, Milltown, Leavenworth, Marengo, Fredericksburg, English and Georgetown.
‘There will certainly be people living in those communities who will live outside of that (3.4-mile) range, but we hope there aren’t many,’ Childs said.
Portative’s most popular service costs about $40 with a 1mb download speed and a 500kb upload speed. The speed will increase in the next 60 to 90 days to 3mb download and 1mb upload, as additional bandwidth is purchased from Louisville.
A basic package, which is $35 a month, offers a 512kb download speed.
Those prices do not include an installation fee, which varies with the length of contract and speed of Internet desired.
‘We have about 550 to 600 customers right now, but it’s always growing,’ said Hulsebus.
Steve Boehman, owner of The Fun Farm near Lanesville and a member of the 33-member Harrison County Independent Business Alliance, said having high-speed Internet will be an asset to his business.
‘It’s just so time saving. I waste a ton of time on dial-up. It’ll fluctuate. You’ll be ‘zipping’ along at a snail’s pace and then boom, you are downgraded to a three-toed sloth,’ Boehman said.
‘These days, it’s all about speed. Whether it’s a family of four that wants to all be on the Internet at the same time or a kid wanting to play a video game online or whatever, there are just so many benefits to having high-speed Internet both at a residential level and as a business owner.’