A new internet provider is in town, but it has a climb ahead of it before it can gain access to a dilapidated communications tower near Gansner Field Airport. Representatives from MINetworks, locals Isaac Harms and Mike Pence, requested permission from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors to use the Plumas County Airport Gas Light Tower for wireless internet services.
Harms explained to the Board at its regular meeting March 20 that MINetworks is a startup business with the goal to bring fast, reliable internet to small communities. However, their proposal ran into some snags at the meeting.
Their first project would be in Quincy and they asked for the use of the gas light tower as an access point for business and residential customers. According to Interim Facilities Director Kevin Correira, the tower is in poor shape and is in line for repairs. MINetworks agreed to help repair the tower and maintain it in exchange for the dual use.
District 1 Supervisor Mike Sanchez explained that the timing of this venture comes right at the point where the Planning Commission is finalizing its first telecommunications ordinance. For the board to approve the partnership, MINetworks must first gain approval from Planning Director Randy Wilson and the Airport Land Use Commission.
However, Wilson has stated at previous Planning Commission meetings that he is unsure if the Airport Land Use Commission is even still in existence.
The new telecommunications ordinance has to be reviewed and approved by the airport commission in order to gain approval by the board. If the commission is not meeting or it does not have a quorum, then the board must appoint members. The timeline on that process can be long and arduous.
In the meantime, not only will the new telecommunications ordinance not be approved, but MINetworks will not be able to gain approval for their venture, halting the chance for Quincy to obtain more internet service providers.
“The last thing we want to do is hold up any access to internet,” said District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel.
Company representatives said they would continue to follow up with the relevant departments on the project.