The long-suffering residents of East Verde Estates and Beaver Valley now have a new option for internet and cell service — thanks to a big investment in fiber optic cable by Pointe Wireless.
Both communities sit on the banks of the East Verde River in canyons that effectively block signals for internet and cell phones. Most residents get internet and television from one of the satellite companies, like HughesNet and DirecTV. Many residents can’t get cell service at home, so end up buying land lines.
Now Pointe Wireless owner Michael Day — who also operates the nonprofit KPJM radio station in Payson — has run a fiber optic cable from the main trunk line to broadcast towers in each community. The towers will now provide 100 megabytes of both upload and download speed, said Day. That’s approximately twice the speed of the satellite uploads, he said.
“It’s kind of cool for the community,” said Day. “It makes the community worth more money. If people want to come up from the Valley to rent or buy — first thing they’ll say is, I’ve got no service.”
The service will cost about $91 per month, with a $100 installation charge.
HughesNet charges about the same amount for internet service. DirecTV, which owns HughesNet charges about $68 for television service. However, those services generally don’t provide enough upload speed to use an internet-based cell phone service.
Day says the new fiber optic system will provide Verizon cell phone service with a Verizon network extender.
“It’s like a miniature cell site, that plugs into the internet feed,” he said. “You plug the extender into the internet feed, so the cell phone will work on the property.”
He noted that the $91 per month charge includes $35 per month which goes toward repaying the capital cost of running the fiber optic extension line from the main trunk line.
Day said the capacity of the fiber optic extension can be upgraded to a full gigabyte should the capacity of the trunk line increase or in the event the customer base grows in each community.
Day said, “real estate values have now increased because this communitywide real broadband service now exists. Beaver Valley and East Verde Estates now have the highest performance internet system in Gila County.”