BY GABE LICHT
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Franklin Township resident Matt Daly said he was so fed up with his internet speeds that he offered a bonus to any of his employees who identified a better option.
An employee came through for him, and he believes he found a solution. He shared that information with the Franklin Township Board and about 10 residents Monday evening.
Joining Daly were representatives of Dassel-based internet service provider Xtratyme, general manager Jenni Luthens and technician Eugene Starnes.
“For those of you who might not have been here last month, Matt came in and explained the possibility of this company west of us that has the ability to erect towers and have much faster internet than we have now,” Chair Bill McMullen said. “ . . . I can tell you township residents are interested and you have a willing set of customers.”
Initially, Daly had proposed to fund erecting a tower in the Boulder Woods development on 95th Street off of Wright County Road 17. Now, Xtratyme’s plan is to erect a 130-foot-tall, 1-foot-wide triangular tower on the Franklin Township Hall property, and smaller towers such as a 70-foot tower in Boulder Woods in other developments as needed. Daly committed to footing the estimated $13,000 bill for the tower on the township property, and the township would receive free internet service, and potential profit sharing, for serving as an Xtratyme landlord.
As proposed, the township would enter into a five-year agreement to serve as a landlord.
“I don’t see how the township entering into a five-year agreement to put a tower here is an undue burden on the township or residents,” McMullen said.
Xtratyme utilizes point-to-point radio waves to provide internet to subscribers within five to seven miles of backbone towers, which are supported by micro cell towers, such as the one proposed for Boulder Woods, and redundant network fiber feeds.
“We would put them up on an as-needed basis,” Luthens said. “The Boulder Woods tower would be up right away.”
Six to 10 customers would be needed to justify a tower, she added.
When asked if Xtratyme would ever pay for a tower, Luthens said that could be the case if enough individuals were interested in becoming customers.
Initial cost per customer varies based on how far each customer is from a backbone tower, as well as conditions such as topography and trees that could block the signal.
Once established, Xtratyme will monitor supply and demand, and add equipment as needed to accommodate its customers, Starnes said.
Before plans can advance, township staff will do due diligence with Wright County Planning and Zoning and the Minnesota Association of Townships, the township’s insurance provider. Luthens noted her company carries a $1 million insurance policy, as does each climber who services towers.
After completing that research, the township will conduct a special meeting to make a final decision about the proposal laid out by Daly and Xtratyme.
For more information about the service and what is being proposed, Luthens and Daly encourage residents to contact them at email@example.com or 888-98728963 and firstname.lastname@example.org or 763-688-1280, respectively.