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Conservation board headquarters gets new Internet

BY MICHAEL KADRIE | DECEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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Internet hasn’t always been easy to find around Kent Park, but a brand new agreement with Mediacom will solve the problem.

The Johnson County Conservation Board, headquartered in the park outside Oxford, Iowa, is set to receive the first upgrade to their Internet in a decade.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Johnson County Board of Conservation office assistant Dory Kjosa. “Without the Internet we really can’t do anything.”

The Johnson County Conservation Board is the caretaker and developer of all property acquired by Johnson County for public museums, parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, and other county recreation purposes.

They manage 13 such areas throughout Johnson County.

Shoddy Internet has been a persistent headache for conservation board staff members, who depend on it for everything from printing to communicating with other county offices.

Kjosa said the software she uses to enter payroll information is dependent on Internet and these outages can cause problems with getting the county accurate data.

At Thursdays meeting the Supervisors agreed to pay MCC Telephony of Iowa, LLC, better known as Mediacom, to perform the upgrade.

Conservation Board Executive President Larry Gullett said Internet was originally provided by way of a microwave tower, which has recently been the source of much frustration.

“In the last two years our system has gone down on a regular basis, because trees are blocking communication,” he said.

Kjosa said inclement weather frequently cause service failures.  Recently, heavy fog took down the system for half-a-day.

“Our system is dysfunctional,” Gullett said.

Gullett said after hearing bids from several contractors and discussing options, which included building a new tower, fiber Internet offered the best compromise between being dependable and affordable.

“If we put in a taller tower we’d have to remove quite a few trees, which we don’t want to do,” he said.

Many trees have grown significantly since the tower was originally built, turning them into the very kind of thing the conservation board works to protect.

Mediacom’s contract to install the fiber will cost the county $13,500, with a monthly charge of $380.

The contract assumes Johnson County will pay for this service for 72 months following the approval of the agreement, unless earlier termination is requested.

Johnson County supervisor Rod Sullivan said once the board decided on cable; Mediacom became their only available option.

“Cable is a regulated monopoly in Iowa…so [Mediacom] is it,” he said.

Sullivan said the Board expects the Internet to be set up within the next 60 days.

“Fiber optics is the way to go as far as finances and dependability,” Gullett said.


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