Northwoods Connect building new Internet tower near Two Sisters Lake

December 28, 2016

Lane Kimble


RHINELANDER - Spotty internet access can frustrate anyone who lives outside town. DSL and cable connections often run on existing lines, and most rural homeowners only get one choice between the two. It's why Northwoods Connect is building new towers around Oneida County to reach potential customers who otherwise might be out of luck.

Workers spent the end of last week cutting guy wires for a new 180-foot tower near Two Sisters Lake in Newbold. Northwoods Connect plans to stack the tower later this week and make it active early in 2017.

CEO Paul Osterman says this tower can reach homes up to five miles away.

"In northern Wisconsin, we do have challenges because it's a very hilly terrain, a lot of 80-foot pine trees, so it is completely dependent on a customer's location," Osterman said.

This is the second tower that Northwoods Connect built in Oneida County in 2016. The other is near Jenny Webber Lake north of Rhinelander.

The project comes thanks to a $405,000 grant, 45 percent of which is covered by the state.

"If you're building a robust, cellular-grade tower, you can get up to [the] $400,000 mark," Osterman said. "Whereas we're able to do this much cheaper and accomplish what the state wants us to do."

The Town of Newbold will own the tower near Two Sisters Lake. They'll add a transmitter to boost their firefighter radio signal. New towers are also planned near Sugar Camp and in Crescent in 2017.

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