Bringing the courthouse up to speed

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WALLACE — The Shoshone County Courthouse took another step toward the future Monday morning when the Board of County Commissioners approved an agreement between the county and internet company J&R Electronics.

This particular agreement grants J&R access to the courthouse rooftop, so that they can utilize the height of the building to extend their broadband coverage area in Wallace.

In exchange for this access, the Shoshone County Courthouse will receive a 75 mbps (megabits per second) upload and download connection free of charge.

The trade off will save Shoshone County roughly $12,000 per year in internet costs, while also providing them with an upgrade in service that will make all departments based there run more efficiently.

J&R President Jim Lemm and VP Ian Caldwell were pleased to hear the BOCC’s excitement to move forward with the agreement because it will allow them the ability to get their service to more people on the south side of Wallace.

“This access point for our company is important for us to be able to better serve the Wallace community,” Lemm said.

Unlike many other providers in the area, J&R doesn’t use cable lines or DSL for their service, but instead use microwave technology for their service.

Microwave Internet uses equipment similar in size and shape to a satellite dish, but because fixed microwave is terrestrial-based, and not a satellite in space, the speeds are faster and more stable.

From the county’s perspective, the deal is good for a myriad of reasons, more so than just the improved service and cost savings.

The line-of-sight technology makes it easier for service to be shared between the courthouse building and the public safety building, as well as giving J&R the ability to help provide another alternative service to their constituents.

“This deal is really a win-win for us,” said Mike Fitzgerald, Shoshone County commissioner. “Any time we can save the county some money is a plus. Doing it while upgrading our building’s service and helping the community at the same time is what really makes this a great deal.”

J&R Electronics aren’t quite ready for residential customers just yet, as they are setting up the framework for their network — which includes this deal with the county — but the Shoshone News-Press will have that information out to the public as soon as they are ready to release it.

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