By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Havreites will soon have another option for high-speed Internet access.
"We're going to be offering primarily a wireless high-speed Internet service that will be very comparable in speed and quality to DSL services," said Tim Hodges of the Triangle Telephone Cooperative and Central Montana Communications.
Triangle has offered a form of DSL - digital subscriber lines - to its rural customers since 2000. The service in Havre will be an extension of Triangle's digital cellular phone service, Montana In Touch, offered in conjunction with 3 Rivers Wireless.
Hodges said the installations in Havre will probably begin in late June.
John Magyar, president of Triangle, announced at the State of the City luncheon in March that the company will offer the Internet service.
Stellar Computer Consulting has offered DSL Internet service in Havre since 2001 and wireless high-speed service since 2002. Stellar Computer's wireless service has an installation cost of about $300, with a monthly charge of $49.90 for the first computer and $10 for each additional computer connected.
David Shaw, owner of Stellar Computer, said his company has put up enough towers that the service can be connected in most of Havre.
To be connected, the location must have a line of sight to a relay tower, which transmits the wireless service.
Triangle can also offer the service in most of Havre, and has comparable rates.
Hodges said the exact rates have not been set, but the Internet service will probably be about $50 or $60 a month, with a $200 to $300 installation fee.
Triangle installed a tower on the east end of Havre and on a water tank in Highland Park in 2001 for its Montana In Touch digital cellular phone service, and Hodges said houses that have a line of sight available to the top of those transmitters will be able to receive the Internet service.
Triangle will eventually start offering its cellular phone service with the Internet service, Hodges said. A main drawback to offering the phone service in Havre has been that people couldn't use the wireless phone access for Internet access, he said.
The services probably will be offered as a bundle, Hodges said. The Internet service might be offered at a discount with the phone service, but the package amounts have not been finalized, he said.
Christy Keto of Montana In Touch said the wireless phone packages now range from $25 to $85, depending on the number of minutes allowed per month and other factors such as how much roaming - calling from outside the system's home network - is included.
The most likely package for an Internet customer would be a $45 phone service package, which allows unlimited minutes of use per month, Keto said.