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Peabody strung out about fiber exclusion

Staff writer

Peabody librarian Rodger Charles suggested at the Peabody city council meeting Monday that Vyve vice president Travis Kohlrus be called to a city hall meeting to explain the exclusion of Peabody from a recent TC Wireless federal grant that would have provided fiber optic Internet access for Peabody homes.

Kohlrus filed a grievance with the state about Peabody’s inclusion in the grant, saying Peabody already had access to adequate Internet through Vyve.

Peabody residents said otherwise.

“If a train runs through, we lose Internet,” Charles said.

City councilman Travis Wilson said when service was being installed at his home, he was told his PlayStation console may cause problems with it.

“When they said that, I thought, ‘This isn’t going to last’,” Wilson said.

Kohlrus said when objecting to the grant that Vyve would be making improvements to Peabody’s service by the end of the year. Peabody residents were unaware of this.

“I’m a Vyve customer, have been for many years. I haven’t heard anything,” Charles said. “Nothing’s come. I haven’t received an email and I’ve had no communication.”

Vyve allegedly recommended taking Peabody off the grant application so it could provide Durham with fiber optics.

“I have never seen the state recommend to pull someone out of a grant,” Wilson said.
“It’s funny to me that the state would recommend that.”

Peabody dropped out of applying for the grant for the benefit of the other towns.

“Lehigh has no other options for Internet,” councilman Lindsay Hutchison said. “It’s not fair to make them lose out.”

The council agreed to call Kohlrus to a town hall meeting to explain the company’s plan to improve the Internet for Peabody residents.

“No one has heard of this plan, so I thought it would be a good idea for him to come in and expand on it,” Charles said.

Hutchison suggested inviting a member of Marion city council as well to see whether Vyve had similar aspirations for Marion.

“I’ve said all along, we need to get that fiber optic connectivity,” Charles said.

He cited Hillsboro attracting a new business after announcing a plan to install fiber optics there.

“Businesses recognize that they need reliable access to the Internet to survive,” he said. “Everyone needs to wake up. The old co-ax cable that we relied on, they’re not as reliable as the fiber optic is. That’s what we need as a community to move forward.”

The council hopes to have the meeting in the next few months, when Charles and Kohlrus both are available.

Council president Jay Gfeller thanked residents in attendance for keeping pressure on the city to follow up with the broadband situation.

“Let’s bring them all to town,” Charles said.

Last modified Sept. 1, 2021

 

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