The city of Waupaca hopes to close on the sale of its high-speed, wireless Internet service by the end of May.
“It’s a complicated sale. I didn’t think we could get it done in 30 to 45 days,” said City Administrator Henry Veleker.
When the Common Council approved the sale of Waupaca Online in February, the hope was to close on the sale within 30 days.
Northern Telephone and Data, of Oshkosh, is purchasing the utility from the city for $225,000.
However, before they can close on the sale, there are about four time-sensitive issues they must first work through and complete, Veleker said.
First, the Public Service Commission had to authorize a de-certification of the public utility.
“That took them a little bit of time to go through,” he said. “We have officially been granted that de-certification.”
Veleker said another issue that has to be addressed is the lease assignment for the equipment on the Mount Tom tower.
“The Mount Tom tower was bought by SBA Towers,” Veleker said. “The new buyer is in the process of providing information to SBA on the type of equipment they want to put up there.”
SBA will want to negotiate with NTD, he said.
On the city’s end, it took about a month to reach the right people in the large company, Veleker said.
The third issue being addressed is the city’s liability of about $83,000 for terminating its contract with AT& T before its end date.
That contract is for the city’s pipeline to the Internet, and he said NTD has agreed to assume the contract.
Veleker said that when the Common Council agreed to sell the city’s Internet service to NTD, it agreed to do whatever it could to negotiate more bandwidth for NTD and make the assigning of that contract as favorable as possible to the company.
The city is negotiating t double the bandwidth, which would result in a savings for NTD of between $600 and $700 a month, he said.
The final piece of the negotiating involves the lease agreement the city has with the city of Weyauwega for the equipment the city of Waupaca has on Weyauwega’s water tower.
“Their Finance Committee was not comfortable making a decision until it had more information. That is understandable,” Veleker said.
The city of Weyauwega is working through that, and Waupaca’s city administrator is hopeful that the city of Weyauwega makes a decision this month.
“The city of Weyauwega is probably key,” Veleker said. “NTD has said they need that location to get from their network to our network. The goal is to conclude it as soon as possible. It is everyones best interest to do so.”
In the meantime, the city of Waupaca continues to operate Waupaca Online.
He noted that in the past month, the city brought on two new customers.
“We’re working diligently to keep the service level up,” Veleker said. “We don’t want to lose customers. We are communicating with the customers to keep them updated about the sale. We’re telling them to hang in there. There’s no need to jump ship.”