By Liz Shepherd
ETNA GREEN — A local company will soon be bringing fiber optic Internet service to Etna Green.
Representatives for Surf Broadband Solutions, Elkhart, attended the meeting to gauge the town’s interest in their company building fiber optic cables for Internet services in the area. The company is currently building fiber in Bourbon and has also built a network in Plymouth.
“It’ll create a fiber optic, high-speed Internet ring between those communities,” said Gene Crusie, Surf Broadband Solutions president. “When we started building in Bourbon, we had to build out a little bit this way to connect to our fiber around the area. And we thought if we were going to come this far, we might as well come to your town. We’re not asking for money. We just would like to see if the town wants high-speed Internet here and we’re looking for a partnership.”
Crusie said the construction project would take about two months. Rates for Internet services would be from $65 to $95 a month.
“Almost everybody that I talk to cuts their bill in half,” said Crusie. “Upload and download are the same. So when you’re doing eLearning or working from home, there’s not glitches. Probably the most significant thing is we have no data cap. You can use as much Internet as you want and your bill will never go up. Whatever package you’re on, that’s what you get.”
Etna Green Council Member Jason Hanes asked Crusie about the fiber optic becoming overwhelmed if a lot of people in town sought their services.
“With the prices you’re offering, there’s a lot of people that are going to want to switch over,” said Hanes. “There’s been a general dissatisfaction in town where that goes, so I feel like you’ll get swamped.”
“Our major fiber circuit goes from Chicago, to South Bend, to Plymouth, to Bourbon, to here (Etna Green), to Bremen, to Chicago,” said Crusie. “You have a fat fiber connection all the way to the biggest data center in the world. You really are fortunate, basically that means we have unlimited capacity.”
Etna Green Council gave their approval for the project.
Richard Long, founder of the Etna Green Museum, asked for council’s approval to seek architects for an expansion to the museum. Long said the expansion’s location on the building would be determined by architects.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff on the floor and we have many books with no place to put them,” said Long. “We have to have an area to keep them where they don’t mold.”
Council gave Long approval to go forward with the expansion.
Long also asked council to post on social media about the need for volunteers to help run the museum.
Trash Rate Increase
Etna Green Clerk-Treasurer Patti Cook said the town is currently losing $295 a month because the town has not raised its trash pickup rates since it entered a contract with Republic Services in November 2020. Cook said residents in Bremen and Bourbon currently pay about $15.
The town currently charges $13.53 and voted to raise the rate to $14.20.
Town Attorney Jay Rigdon suggested the council change the rate to recoup losses right now and begin working on a formula that could automatically begin in 2022 that would be based on the town’s out-of-pocket costs.
Council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14.