Redzone expansion plan includes Morrill, Frankfort

By Ethan Andrews | Feb 01, 2019
Map by: The Republican Journal, created on mapdevelopers.com A map simulation of possible coverage from an internet expansion plan recently announced by Redzone Wireless. Shown are areas within a five- or 10-mile radius of existing transmission towers in Morrill and Frankfort.

A major expansion planned by Redzone Wireless for 2019 would bring broadband internet service to at least two Waldo County towns, Morrill and Frankfort, with the possibility of service spilling into adjacent towns.

The Rockland-based company uses existing transmission towers, rather than cable or phone lines, to beam high-speed internet directly to customers.

Michael Forcillo, vice president of sales and marketing at Redzone, said service can reach up to 10 miles from the tower depending upon the terrain. He could not provide the exact locations of towers Redzone plans to use or coverage maps, but said both will be released within 60 days.

Morrill currently has just one transmission tower, owned by U.S. Cellular, on Hartshorn Road, according to Tax Collector Roger Rowlands. Frankfort has a transmission tower on Mount Waldo. Town Clerk Heather McLaughlin said she was unaware of Redzone's plans or whether other towers exist in town.

Redzone owns some former GWI wireless assets in Belfast, Northport and Islesboro with what Forcillo called "modest capacity."

In 2015, the company got city approval to install three antennas on an existing transmission tower on Patterson Hill in Belfast but did not immediately pursue it. Speaking on Jan. 29, Forcillo said Redzone is still planning to expand its service in the city.

Maine has lagged behind other states in broadband internet access. Spotty coverage in Waldo County prompted state Sen. Erin Herbig to draft a $20 million bond proposal for the current legislative session to expand broadband access in rural areas of Maine.

The Belfast City Council in October 2018 awarded a contract to Lincolnville-based LCI to wire 11 city facilities with fiber-optic internet. The plan was expected to bring the service within reach of some residences along the new routes.

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