County’s broadband service under new management

Published 11:10 am Friday, August 10, 2012

Decatur County customers who use Main Street Broadband will continue to keep the same service and payment schedule, they’ll just be using a different company.

Shane Turner, who had served as the local area technician for Main Street Broadband, is in the process of taking over management of the network. His new company, Turner Broadband, will take over for Main Street Broadband, which had served more than 1,300 customers in Decatur County.

Main Street Broadband had ceased operations Wednesday, Aug. 1.

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Turner said he believes that his new company is contracting with Community Network Services, based in Thomasville, Ga., to transfer the control of the network from Main Street Broadband’s Alpharetta, Ga., headquarters to Turner Broadband’s Bainbridge headquarters. He said that by Wednesday, Aug. 15, his new company should again be able to begin accepting payments from current Main Street Broadband customers.

“There are still a few minor details right now, but we’re hoping to be fully operational again by Aug. 15,” Turner said.

Turner said that most Main Street Broadband customers still have Internet connection. Those who are disconnected — likely due to lightning or other problems at the communications towers — should be up and running again by Aug. 15.

“Once we’re 100-percent ready to go, we’ll be able to be legally complete the maintenance that’s needed to bring all of our customers back online,” he said.

Turner said that the company will not be satisfied with simply meeting existing customers’ needs. He hopes to improve the technology, and even bring in additional customers in the coming months.

“I know this is definitely a needed service in our region,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there who want this service and hopefully we can meet that need.”

Turner said there are currently five other employees in the company, including his wife, Carrie. Jordan Faircloth is serving as the field technician.

Main Street Broadband and Decatur County signed a contract Dec. 8, 2009, with the intention of creating a wireless broadband high-speed Internet service that could provide Internet connections to any Decatur County citizen. The project was included on the project list that voters approved in the most recent SPLOST referendum, and more than $2.5 million in taxpayer money was spent on the project.

As a result, most of the communications infrastructure is owned by the county government. Turner said his company would not have been able to take over Main Street Broadband’s local operations without the support of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners.

“I’m very thankful for all of the people who have helped us out,” he said. “The commissioners have really helped speed this thing along. It’s coming together even faster than I thought it would.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has said they are really hoping this will be a local success, and we’re working as hard as we can to make it a success.”

Turner Broadband is still headquartered at the old Bainbridge location, 111 N. West St. For more information, call Turner at (229) 400-0934.