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Mainstream Internet work ‘going very well’

Project manager George Ethridge updated a depleted Harrison County Council about the Mainstream Fiber Networks high-speed Internet progression through the county.
Three councilmembers ‘ Jennie Capelle, Donnie Hussung and Kyle Nix ‘ were absent from the Oct. 10 meeting due to fall break.
‘We’re doing very well with the project,’ Ethridge said.
He said they have approximately 96,000 feet of 72 strand cable installed.
‘Less than 5,000 is buried; most is aerial,’ he said.
Mainstream is moving forward with easement and permit acquisition.
‘We’re waiting on important ones from the state on (S.R.) 135 south of Corydon,’ Ethridge said. ‘We submitted them July 31; still waiting. We’re going to have to raise the question again with the senator’s office (Erin Houchin), and she can find out what the delay is. She helped us with three others.’
Ethridge said the permits were ‘sitting on someone’s desk’ and they had not gotten around to completing them.
Other than state permitting, Ethridge said the project is going very well with local providers Harrison REMC and Frontier cooperating.
Mainstream representative Mark Gabriel said they are receiving 200 to 250 new requests for service each month, for a total of 3,500 or so to date.
‘We’re starting to see quite a bit of activity,’ Gabriel said.
Councilman Gary Byrne said there are a couple of subdivisions off of S.R. 135 north that have residents who say they’ve been told they need more neighbors to sign up before service will be brought to them.
Byrne said he understood that anyone within a mile of the fiber would be allowed to hook on.
Ethridge said that area is under phase one, which had no ‘one-mile’ contractual obligations.
‘Now wait a second; it was asked in this meeting, I specifically asked the question if the customers down 135 on your phase 1 have the same rules for the other customers (phase 2), one mile, and the answer was ‘yes’; it was clearly a ‘yes’ …’ Byrne said. ‘We can go back and listen to it on the county government website. Is that not true now then?’
Gabriel said he didn’t think Mainstream said they would run a mile of cable for one person.
‘I asked the question will you run one mile for one customer and the answer was flat out ‘yes’,’ Byrne said.
‘I don’t think so,’ Gabriel replied.
Ethridge said eventually they’ll pick up everyone, but, like any good business, they’re going to go where the cluster of customers are located first.
Byrne said he understood that, but, if they weren’t doing anything else, they could pick up the lesser areas.
‘Well, let me tell you, we’re busy,’ Ethridge said of Mainstream’s four crews.
Gabriel said they like to see 60 percent of a subdivision or neighborhood signed up before moving forward with the process.
‘We try to get as many people signed up and ready to install so we can do it all at one time,’ he said. ‘It’s tough to double back.’
In other business, the council approved an additional appropriation of $30,000 for superior court public defenders with a 4-0 vote.
Davis also read over the requested totals for the 2018 budget, with a grand total of $43,627,384 for county government, including nearly $15.5 million in riverboat gaming funds and a little less, $15.3 million, in county general. Property taxes raise just under $7 million for county government.
‘Many small funds are funded by other sources,’ Davis said. ‘And the budget estimates, in most cases, will be reduced as we’ve gone through the individual budgets.’
The council’s next regular meeting will be Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.