CENTREVILLE — Scott Gornall, vice president of Baon Enterprises, presented Queen Anne’s County Commissioners with a wireless broadband service option in rural areas at the Tuesday, Nov. 26, meeting aimed at underserved areas in the county.
According to the Queen Anne’s County Broadband Advisory Council, many of the issues facing the expansion of broadband internet service are the logistics of placing high-speed internet fiber in the more rural areas of the county.
“Our primary business is helping new companies come to market and helping companies expand into new markets," Gornall said. "Most of our activity here has also been working with the economic development team."
Gornall proposed a wireless internet hub, still in testing, capable of long-haul broadband service at a rate of a full gigabit per second with a range of 20 to 40 miles. He said such a technology would reduce costs to provide underserved areas, change cost metrics for carriers,and overcome traditional construction issues like waterways and roads.
Still, the technology is not without its limitations as it does not replace the need for fiber in certain areas, and it is not home or consumer wireless internet service. The cost for two of the devices ranges from $40,000 to $60,000.
“This technology is different since it was developed by someone in Maryland, and we licensed it, and it’s in the trial phase right now," Gornall said. "So it’s primarily information management and analytics. We work very closely with the Maryland Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Commerce."
He said Baon Enterprises also hopes to commercialize it in the future. Should the technology have a viable application, that proposed company would be based on the Eastern Shore.
Internet service providers have yet to fully endorse the technology as it will still take 60 to 90 days to test its effectiveness. To do so, the county will have to pursue grant funding to supplement the cost of purchasing equipment.
County commissioners did not make a formal decision as to proceed with funding a formal trial period, but the Chestertown company expressed interest in continued partnership with the county.