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Broadband internet expanding in Wayne County

If you live in a rural area you know getting internet service isn't easy and one company is working on changing that in Wayne County.

HONESDALE, Pa. — For some people in Wayne County, getting reliable internet service has been a challenge. Icon Technologies, based in Carbondale, has been trying to get broadband internet here for the past three and a half years.

Wayne County received funding from the state to expand into rural areas, giving Icon Technologies the opportunity to help.

"We've had to build a 23-mile microwave route that has four microwave radio hops in order to get sufficient bandwidth here to provide service to these people," said Alex Kelly, co-owner of Icon Technologies.

"It's 2021. We took the initiative a few years back to try to change that one farm at a time, basically, and one hilltop at a time, and this is where we're at it," said Icon's Brian Wrightson.

Because of the rural nature of its location, the newest tower Icon Technologies put up required a solar panel to power it.

"That is providing coverage to 89 square miles. So the economics are just, I mean you have to be a wireless provider to do this. There is no other way that this is ever going to make economic sense," Kelly said.

The Highlights Learning Center was one of the first to use this broadband service, and Executive Director George Brown says it's been a huge plus.

"Before we had different types of internet, but it was all really slow speeds until we hooked up with Icon, who's really been working hard over the past couple of years to get us sustainable speeds where we can actually do the internet work that we need to do here," Brown said.

Calkins Creamery owner Emily Montgomery says she has waited three years for this project, and when her service started three weeks ago, it improved the workflow.

"I tell my customers, 'You're not going to be waiting two or three days now because everything is done now in house in a timely fashion.' So we're encroaching upon the Christmas season, and we do thousands of gift boxes, so this is going to be a total game-changer for us this year.

Icon Technologies has plans for another tower in the Starruca area. They're hoping that President Biden's infrastructure bill will translate into more broadband help to better serve rural customers in the future.