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HomeNewsArchivesHigh-Speed Net Access Expands in Northwest St. Croix

High-Speed Net Access Expands in Northwest St. Croix

Jan. 10, 2007 — Broadband V.I., one of several high-speed Internet providers on St. Croix, has added a new access point, expanding coverage around the Montpellier area in the northwest region, in the hilly country above the old rock quarry.
“This was an interesting site; it adds an area previously absent of any coverage,” said Mike Meluskey, a general partner with Broadband V.I. in a statement released Thursday. “We are rapidly expanding our coverage areas. This is not the first, by any means, nor is it to be the last. We want to provide coverage to all Virgin Islanders.”
Jerry Smith, one of Broadband V.I.'s founders and a partner, told the Source Thursday this access point is a repeater, providing access to their wireless Internet service to residents along a line of sight with the access point.
“Moving a wireless signal around St Croix is not a simple task," Smith said in the company's statement. "You have to have a clear, unobstructed view from where you are to where you want to go…. not just peeking around the corner. The diverse, dense nature of the vegetation and the extreme topology of our Island create an interesting challenge for Broadband."
In the short time since the access point became active, they have added at least eight new customers who previously could not get their service.
Currently Broadband V.I. has a capacity of 50 mbs (megabits per second) on the north shore and another 50 mbs on the south shore. The company is upgrading that to 200 mbs on the north shore and another 200 mbs on the south shore, Smith said.
"As we take out the small bottlenecks at the peak of day when high use causes service to slow down, service will get faster and faster for our customers," Smith said. Broadband V.I. has been operating on St. Croix for about five or six years, Smith told the Source Thursday. It is locally owned and operated and has 82 repeaters forming a communications backbone that currently serves about 2,000 customers.
Within St. Croix, it provides Internet service via microwave transmission, as does Choice Communications, a competitor. Broadband V.I. is only on St. Croix, while Choice is on St. Thomas as well. Broadband V.I. had broader coverage on St. Croix than Choice. Other broadband Internet options include Innovative PowerNet, which runs over copper telephone lines and fiber optic lines, cellular wireless through providers such as Sprint and Cingular, and satellite Internet service, including DirecTV Internet and HughesNet, parent of DirectTV and DirecWay satellite Internet providers.

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