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Opinions Sought On Minet

Monmouth council holds hearing on high-speed internet

MONMOUTH -- The Monmouth City Council holds a public hearing to gather opinion on whether the city should extend fiber optic cable to residential areas and provide advanced telecommunications services.

This is the second phase of the Monmouth-Independence Network (MINET).

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m., March 11, at Volunteer Hall, at 144 S. Warren St.

Advanced services include high speed internet, cable television and telephone services, which would be provided by MINET or third-party providers through the network.

MINET could bundle these services together or offer them as individual services to customers, through a fiber optic cable attached to each home.

To pay for construction of the network and provide service, Monmouth and Independence need 40 percent of all residential customers to sign up for the service. Entry level prices range from $25 to $30 per month for internet, $25 to $30 for cable and $15 to $20 for phone service.

"If residents have an opinion about the types of services they would like to have, the council hopes they show up and comment," City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.

The cost to expand the fiber optic network is $8 million to $10 million. MINET would borrow money with guarantees from each City for a portion of the debt.

There is a risk involved with the project -- if MINET is unable to make payments, both cities would be required to use money from other operations to make payments.

The City would also consider reducing services or increasing other fees paid if MINET debt payments couldn't be met, though property taxes could not be raised.

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