Sudlersville entertains WiFi service contract
SUDLERSVILLE — In an effort to receive better internet connection in one of the northern most areas of Queen Anne’s County, the Sudlersville Commissioners will consider a contract with Delmarva WiFi LLC to get service to the rural town.
John Woodfield of Delmarva WiFi LLC, based in Chestertown, gave information to the commissioners about the services his company provides to areas with trouble receiving internet connectivity during the town’s Wednesday, Feb. 1, meeting.
Having built a network that aims to serve locations unable to receive high speed internet, Woodfield, accompanied by Chestertown attorney David Wright, walked the commission and town residents in attendance through how the company provides its service.
Mounting antennas to elevated structures, which for Sudlersville would be its water tower, Woodfield said the company brings the needed signal in wirelessly and redistributes it to people in the general area. In most cases, the radius of service is five miles from the antenna, though Woodfield said it depends on line of sight.
If Sudlersville went forward with a service contract, which will be discussed further at the town’s March 1 meeting when an actual proposal is in hand, the town would join a list of Maryland places to benefit from Delmarva WiFi’s service. Woodfield said the company currently has equipment on structures in Oxford, Betterton, Rock Hall, Eastville and towns up and down the Eastern Shore.
From a government’s approach in having multiple providers in an area, Woodfield said his experience has been it usually is “very pro getting internet out ... to give residents of the town or outlining areas choice and have options that way.” If contracted, Delmarva WiFi is not seeking exclusivity, so multiple providers would still be able to set up service networks in the town.
At a normal rate of $65 per month for users, services include unlimited usage and no caps, Woodfield said. For qualified users, such as low income households and senior citizens on fixed incomes, a discount to $20 would be the per monthly fee.
“We would like to look at providing some incentives for the town as far as the park or senior centers concern,” Woodfield said about setting up multiple hotspots around the area. Woodfield said the town would receive $350 per month, totaling $4,200 a year, for a term of five years. The company does not provide revenue sharing agreements with any of its customers, Woodfield said.
Currently, Sudlersville receives a franchise fee from Atlantic Broadband for service in the town.
Having fiber in Chestertown, Wye Mills and Cambridge, the connection goes wirelessly into the water tower, Woodfield said. As a member of the Maryland Broadband Cooperative, fiber is purchased through it and Atlantic Broadband, as well as other places, Woodfield said.
“We own our infrastructure from end to end,” Woodfield said. “We purchase bandwidth from multiple different fiber carriers, and we take that and distribute it wirelessly.”
Wright said the company “focuses on solving the problems, service, being local [and] when you call him you get somebody in Chestertown, not in Chicago or Bombay or something.”
Users interested in receiving services would have an antenna attached to their house to get the signal from the elevated structure sending the signal out.
At the commission’s next meeting, a contract proposal as well as a list of four potential hotspot locations will be discussed. Meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place at the town office at 200 S. Church St.
John Woodfield of Delmarva WiFi LLC, left, and attorney David Wright discuss the potential of providing high-speed internet service to Sudlersville during the town commission meeting Feb. 1.