DRIVE Expands Wireless Network in Montour County

DRIVE, an economic development council of governments serving Columbia and Montour Counties announces an expansion of its wireless broadband network in Montour County.

The original pilot project launched in 2019 to reach underserved areas of the county as well as to create a wide area network for Montour County owned offices. Jennifer Wakeman, executive director, says new technology was deployed to reach further into Anthony and Derry Townships. “CBRS, or Citizen Band Radio Service, is a non-line of sight technology that reduces the effect of trees and other obstructions.”

With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, more residents began working from home and found their service to be inadequate. Wakeman says DRIVE moved quickly to deploy CBRS. “We had been exploring the availability and cost to add CBRS to our network prior to the coronavirus outbreak. With the jump in remote workers in early March, we reached out to our contractor, Conxx and they were able to bring CBRS online in three weeks.”

Geisinger supplied $300,000 in a forgivable loan for the original project and agreed that unused funds could be utilized for this expansion. “We were thrilled that Geisinger stepped up to the plate to help us reach more users in Montour County,” says Wakeman.

CBRS could allow for network expansion into more rural, forested areas of Columbia County according to Wakeman. “We learned a lot with our initial build out and are constantly looking at options to expand our service into underserved areas in Columbia County.”

The fixed base wireless network can provide fiber speeds to areas that do not currently have adequate access to broadband service. Additional information about the DRIVE Network and how to get service can be found online.