Source: Sherman Publications

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Free wireless internet for downtown Oxford could be here by June

by CJ Carnacchio

February 22, 2012

The wait for free wireless internet service in downtown Oxford is going to be a while longer.

According to a Feb. 20 e-mail from David Simmet, vice president of operations for the Frankenmuth-based Air Advantage, it could be here by June.

Back in February 2011, Oakland County announced that Air Advantage which currently provides high-speed internet service to Michigan's thumb area was going to bring free wireless internet to the historic downtown areas in Oxford, Clarkston and Holly by fall of that year.

In an interview with the Leader in September 2011, Simmet clarified that "we've defined fall as being all the way up into the official winter season."

The deal was Air Advantage gets access to strategically-placed, county-owned radio towers in order to expand its coverage area and customer base, and in return, select downtown areas are supposed to receive free wireless internet service.

However, in order to provide downtown Oxford with service, Air Advantage must get its equipment affixed to a privately-owned wireless tower located approximately 3 miles north of the village.

The 285-foot wireless tower, located at 2255 Metamora Road, is owned by American Tower, a company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

American Tower owns or manages approximately 39,000 communication sites for the wireless and broadcast industries around the globe.

"At this time, Air Advantage has a fully executed lease on the American Tower north of Oxford," Simmet wrote. "This will be the tower that we use to feed the downtown area with internet. At this time, we are working to get the NTP (Notice to Proceed) for this site. This will allow us to begin construction on this tower."

"I would like to say that the downtown area will be done no later than the June time-frame, but it depends on us securing the NTP on this tower," he noted.

Once the Air Advantage equipment is up and running on this tower, free wireless internet in the downtown area will be limited to between one-third and one-half of a mile from where the wireless access point is placed downtown.

The wireless access point is a device that measures 18 inches in length and about 14 inches in width.

"As I understand it, we will be looking at an area near the [Northeast Oakland Historical] museum (possibly the roof) for mounting the access point," Simmet wrote.