Workers installed new equipment to double the internet’s capacity for some people in five counties.
BEAVERTOWN, Pa. — B & R Farm Equipment sells any kind of farming products you can think of. The company outside of Beavertown does a lot of business online, and employees say it’s frustrating when the internet does not work in this rural area.
“It’s been a constant struggle — slow speeds, and we would lose service at times,” Phil Rousch said.
But recently, the internet has been working much better. B & R Farm Equipment is now logged onto a five-county wireless broadband network through Sky Packet.
In January, Newswatch 16 told you about the high-speed internet project, spearheaded by the economic development group DRIVE. Snyder, Union, Northumberland, Montour, and Columbia Counties contributed federal CARES Act money to expand the broadband network, adding 16 tower sites.
“From the ribbon-cutting that you guys covered there were probably over 300 inquiries over the weekend,” Alan Wright said.
Wright works for Sky Packet Networks. He says the company planned to upgrade the link later this year, but the increased demand called for the work to be done now.
“We’re adding another microwave link to increase capacity of internet across the five-county area that DRIVE put up a couple of years ago. It also adds redundancy so that if there was a failure on one of the other links, it would fail over and the internet would stay up,” Wright said.
This isn’t the final piece of the puzzle. Plans to expand rural broadband in this area are ongoing.
As for businesses like B & R Farm Equipment, the wireless broadband network is a blessing.
“Now we’re definitely manageable internet. It’s about 20 times faster than what we were getting with Verizon. That’s nice. Yeah, it’s very nice,” Rousch said.
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