By Terri Attridge
Mayor Greg Bryan has identified bringing reliable Internet service to Tusayan as a top priority.
“We are a business as well as a recreation-based community,” Bryan said. “In order to do business in today’s work environment we have to have connection to place orders, to carry on decision-making research, hiring and communicating with employees, dealing with government requirements and communicating with our customers.”
At the Nov. 2 town council meeting, Kaibab National Forest District Ranger Nick Larson notified the public that two new wireless towers were approved. A 125-foot tower will be placed at Moqui and another 150-foot tower will be built at Anita Tanks south of Tusayan. Construction of the new towers is expected to take place in the Spring, lasting just a few months.
By improving direct micro-wave signals, Bryan expects that the new towers will alleviate some of the Internet difficulties in Tusayan and improve cell phone service.
Recently, Bryan and Council Member John Rueter attended the Arizona Broadband Development meetings in Phoenix. Bryan found that Tusayan is not alone in the struggle for adequate internet services, as metropolitan areas are also experiencing the same troubles.
“The goal is to begin linking core services through a concept called “the middle mile.” They want to stretch the services out and connect two core areas and give coverage to the middle miles,” Bryan said. “The intent is to work with the providers in dealing only with rural Arizona. They will need legislation passed in order to address many of these issues, so that may be a stumbling block.”
Tusayan’s neighbors in the Grand Canyon National Park also experience difficulties daily. Residents, whether they work for the National Park Service or a concessioner, Bryan said, are faced with an oversubscribed bandwidth and under supplied services.
Bryan also said Tusayan’s Internet issues have been brought to the attention of Gov.net, a stimulus-funded entity that is working on bringing broadband coverage to rural Arizona. On a development subcommittee, Bryan and Rueter are investigating options and needs.
“We have recently met with some key people with the new Century Link and have some hopes that they will be able to move some options forward for us to have a better understanding of what can be done and at what cost,” Bryan said.
At this point in time, the costs are unknown and grants have not yet been investigated. Commenting on Century Link, Bryan was hopeful.
“During our meeting with several of their key Arizona Managers, we left with a greater sense of hope and desire to make us a shining star in their horizon and new company,” Bryan said. “We will know soon how much they can and are willing to help us. Stay tuned.”