Posey Co. Residents Angry Over Internet Tower Installation

POSEY COUNTY, Ind. (WFIE) – Citizens of Posey Co. are calling for action following the recent installation of poles related to a 2022 internet expansion project.

“We’ve had a number of complaints over the past few weeks about the placement of stakes in farmers’ fields,” Posey County Commissioner Bryan Schorr said.

At recent District Commission meetings, residents have spoken to Commissioners and Mainstream Fiber Networks representatives about the quality of work they have seen.

“Lines [are] Uproot trees and poles [are] 20 feet into the crop,” one citizen said during the June 20 session.

The project was extended last year due to supply chain issues and now has to deal with more obstacles.

“We want it to look good going forward and be safe going forward,” Joe Neidig said at the June 20 meeting. “So that it doesn’t have to be rebuilt or renovated months later.”

According to Schorr, the county was chosen to be part of this majority-government-funded project.

All of the county’s investment in this project is from ARPA funds, and to date, $1 million of those funds have been used on the project.

They’re two-thirds of their way through the bill with $500,000 yet to be paid to the mainstream.

“We’re working with mainstream and the state to find the best way forward and how to make this work for the citizens of Posey County,” Schorr said.

Schorr says they have instructed Mainstream Fiber Networks to stop installing towers and go back to the drawing board. While this is happening, the county is also reluctant to pay the final third of the monies due.

This is also reflected in the fact that they are looking at dollar numbers and trying to determine how much it would cost the county to bury the rest of the fiber installation.

“We’d like to see if they put it underground,” Schorr said. “[Have the fiber] Out of sight [and] out of your mind.”

Schorr says they want the project to be done right so that constant maintenance of the lines and poles is not required.

“Fiber is going to be very important to us and our future in Posey County, so we need to have fiber that works,” Schorr said. “If it goes out every time we have a storm, it’s not going to be a successful endeavor for Posey County or mainstream.”

Schorr says he and a person from the state drove around the county to assess the status of the project, and he’s working with the state and mainstream to reach an agreement on how to fix any issues discovered.