How we're wired.
Following an affirmative vote in 1998 to establish a telecommunications utility, a wireless internet system was built with service offered to the residents of Traer and surrounding areas. When the system was initially set up a leased T8 telephone line connection was used to gain access to the outside world
or the World Wide Web. The server, bandwidth manager, routers, and other equipment that were used to move the local wireless traffic to and through the leased lines were located in a room above city hall.
In addition to this equipment, seven access points were constructed throughout the city. The function of the access points is to relay all of the customer traffic back to the equipment in city hall. The bandwidth available through these leased lines was a limiting factor in how many customers could be served. It also limited how fast each customer’s connection speed was, but at that time the majority of the customer usage was merely for email. The advent of on‐line news services and on‐line shopping resulted in an increased demand for faster connection speeds and higher reliability. These demands caused the leased line system to be strained to its limits. In order to access more bandwidth for our customers, we worked with FCTC of Dysart to build a wireless link between Traer and Dysart. Once this link was up and running we were able to double the amount of bandwidth available to our system. This generally provided acceptable service for our customers until digital media downloading and streaming services became prevalent. As these services continued to grow we found ourselves reaching the maximum capabilities of
the wireless link between Dysart and Traer.
In 2014, Traer began to investigate a couple of options. One was to identify a means by which we could again increase the bandwidth of the system so that better and faster service could be offered to the customers. The other was to investigate how to provide bandwidth beyond the capabilities of wireless to the downtown business customers. Fiber optic cable proved to be the solution to both of these questions. By the end of 2015, there was a fiber optic link in place between Traer and Dysart to move the internet traffic generated by the TMU internet customers.
TMU also completed the installation of a fiber-optic ring to serve the downtown area. As the fiber system was being installed provisions were made to allow us to move the wireless access point back‐feed traffic into the fiber system. Being able to move the traffic at these access points to the fiber increases the overall speed of the access points. Therefore, the customers using the access points have a faster, more stable service available.
In 2017, fiber optic cable was extended from the downtown ring out to the last two access points located within the city limits. These access points will be connected to the fiber system by summer of 2018.
Today, we offer speeds on the wireless system to our customers ranging from 512 Kbps (kilobits per second) up to 6 Mbps (megabits per second). There are 216 customers in and around Traer using the wireless system. For the 14 business customers utilizing a direct connection to the fiber system, we can offer speeds as fast as 1 Gbps (Gigabits per second). The total annual revenue received by TMU for providing internet service to these customers in 2017 was $130,481.00.