Internet project

Sho-Me Technologies links equipment to its fiber network in downtown Houston from the roof of the Texas County Administrative Center on Grand Avenue.

A project to bring high-speed Internet service to Houston’s downtown business district is receiving notice from Missouri electrical cooperatives and others as the state-of-the art technology launches.

Show-Me Technologies, the fiber optic communications subsidiary of Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative in Marshfield, began work the week of Dec. 18 to enhance its already in place fiber network in downtown Houston using technology developed by the California company Mimosa, which is a leader in cloud-managed, fiber-fast wireless solutions. Representatives of the company helped guide the start of the Houston project, as several Sho-Me Technologies employees began the process to connect the 10 businesses selected as part of the initial project.

Sho-Me Technologies operates a fiber optic network that covers more than 7,500 miles in the state. Using a 1-gigabit fiber on Second Street, the optic connection is transmitted from the Texas County Administrative Center to a building at Grand Avenue and Pine Streets. Each business receives that signal from a small receiver attached to their building. By the end of the first week, initial download speeds topped more than 100 Mbps — each client will initially be guaranteed 30 Mbps. (The FCC defines broadband service as at least 25 Mbps. Some of Texas County has 10 Mbps – if that.)

Sho-Me Power became involved in the project and selected Houston after an inquiry from Downtown Houston Inc., which said businesses were hobbled by the lack of fast Internet service that is available to those in metropolitan areas and it hurt recruitment of businesses who might like to locate in Houston. Discussions began in late September, and Sho-Me led an aggressive effort that involved engineers, a firm in Texas and Mimosa, which was created in 2012 and has customers in more than 100 countries. One of its niches is underserved rural settings.

TEAMS DEPLOY TO HOUSTON

Teams began spreading out through downtown to begin the project — yet to gain a name — that involved tapping the fiber optic line already downtown to reach an access point atop a building at Grand Avenue and Pine Street that connects the local businesses.

Internet project

Robert Larimore mounts a customer’s receiver on a building in downtown Houston while Tony Wilson looks on. The communication technicians with Sho-Me Technologies were among teams recently deployed to Houston to work on a system based on technology developed by a California firm, Mimosa. Intercounty Electric Cooperative is among owners of Sho-Me Power Corp. in Marshfield, the parent company of Sho-Me Technologies. 

Technicians arrived at businesses to wire each location and install each client’s small wireless dish that brings the high-speed Internet into each building.

For many, the arrival couldn’t have been fast enough.

At Family Dentistry, the business was having trouble accepting Microsoft updates for its network without disrupting the day-to-day work flow. Last week the business was able to deploy a paperless work environment for its system.

“This wireless technology will give us the opportunity to offer lower-priced services backed by the same great support our fiber customers enjoy,” said John Richards, CEO and general manager of Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative. “We are excited about this project, and we look forward to working with the folks in Houston to make this a success.”

Sho-Me’s ownership is comprised of nine rural electrical cooperatives that operate in 26 Missouri counties. Intercounty Electric Cooperative in Licking is among its owners, and many of them are looking for a method to effectively deploy high speed internet to its membership like it brought electricity to rural areas. This technology has their attention.

Representatives of several of the state’s cooperatives spent time in Houston to learn about the technology and how it is being deployed. Intercounty CEO Aaron Bradshaw said last week that he’s hopeful the technology might help his cooperative customers who don’t have access to high-speed Internet.

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