Cambria County plans to drop Wi-Fi service

EBENSBURG – Cambria County commissioners hope to get the county out of the wireless Internet provider business by dropping the Cambria Connected service.

About 600 business and residential customers use the system, but the network has seen diminishing returns for the county, commissioners said.

The wireless system was expected to net the county about $600,000 a year, said Steve Ettien, county director of technology.

But the actual annual returns have been about $500,000 short of that estimate, President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said.

Customers will not see their wireless broadband access disappear overnight.

Ettien said commissioners will need to vote during their May 23 meeting to eliminate the Cambria Connected wireless Internet network.

Customers would have to be notified about 90 days prior to the service shutoff, Ettien said.

Two ISPs, In The Stix and SkyPacket, will continue to offer wireless broadband Internet access plans for customers and businesses.

The updated county 911 system will not be affected by the loss of wireless Internet for business and residential customers.

The resolution approved Thursday will restructure existing funds and accounts from the Cambria Connected wireless Internet program and simplify the accounting and operating services of the overall Cambria County Network, which includes the wireless Internet and county 911 systems, Ettien said.

All debts and other expenses of the Cambria Connected wireless network will be absorbed by the Cambria County Network as part of the restructuring, Lengenfelder said.

The next commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 23 at Northern Cambria High School.