Washington County becomes arena for wireless fight [The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y.]
(Post-Star (Glen Falls, NY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 13--A squabble between two wireless Internet companies over bandwidth in Washington County has now dipped into the legal arena.
State Supreme Court Justice Christine Clark on Wednesday granted Hudson Valley Wireless a restraining order against a competing provider, Bounce Linx.
The order is meant to prevent Bounce Linx from interfering with Hudson Valley's transmissions in a certain area of the radio spectrum, according to court documents.
Hudson Valley Communications President John Guzzo on Thursday approached the Washington County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee, asking for their support against signal interference from Bounce Linx on two county-owned towers.
The county and Hudson Valley have a public/private partnership to bring service to some of the county's most rural areas.
"If you're my partner, step up to the plate," Guzzo said to the finance committee Thursday.
"It's hard to step up to the plate when the courts are involved," Kingsbury Supervisor Jim Lindsay said.
Guzzo approached supervisors with similar concerns in March. But competing signals from Bounce Linx transmitters on Willard Mountain have been interfering with Hudson Valley Wireless service for a few weeks now, affecting hundreds of the company's customers, Guzzo said.
The county doesn't have control over the Willard Mountain transmitters, but does own two towers -- one in Fort Edward and another in Hebron.
Hudson Valley Wireless was awarded a $2.4 million grant earlier this year to help bring broadband access to the region.
In April, the Finance Committee approved a proposal from Bounce Linx to install its equipment on the two county towers in Fort Edward and Hebron, giving the firm "second-on" status, after Hudson Valley Wireless.
Dresden Supervisor Bob Banks said he recalled officials telling Bounce Linx leaders at that time they must not create signal interference.
"If they're not doing that, let's throw them the hell out," Banks said.
An earlier letter sent by Stephen Buenzow, deputy chief of the broadband division of the Federal Communications Commission's wireless telecommunications bureau, to Guzzo and Bounce Linx Managing Director John Carnett, said the bandwidth in question is licensed on a shared and non-exclusive basis. That means all licensees have an obligation to cooperate and avoid harmful interference to one another, according to the letter.
Bounce Linx officials have argued they're operating at a level they're licensed for, under the "shared and non-exclusive basis" referenced in the FCC letter.
"We're going to comply with any court decision, though we feel quite adamantly that we're in the right and we will prevail when the judge is presented with all the facts," said Gary Samms, the lawyer for Bounce Linx, on Thursday.
"At the beginning of this, we emphasized that we didn't want to be in the middle of a fight," Lindsay said.
Meanwhile, Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks, Salem Supervisor Seth Pitts and White Creek Supervisor Bob Shay said they were throwing their support behind Hudson Valley Wireless, rather than telling the two companies to work out the issue themselves.
"I stand 100 percent in these guys' corner," Hicks said.
The rural community Shay leads has two areas that are without cellular phone service, and if there's a bad storm, land lines can be knocked out as well, which is a public safety concern, he said.
"I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water here," Shay said. "It's all of our problem."
(c)2013 The Post Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.)
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