EBENSBURG – Those looking for a break outdoors at Duman Lake County Park can now have internet access in the event of an emergency or if they’d like to take their at-home work outdoors for the day.
On Friday, Cambria County Commissioners, along with representatives of local politicians’ offices and county offices, and In the Stix, Broadband marked the addition of fibers and Wi-Fi services to the park.
President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky described the move as a “no-brainer.”
“Parents will be able to take pictures and post on Facebook and Instagram. Patrons of the park can check work emails,” he said, adding that the service increases safety in the park. Having broadband access makes Duman Park a safer place.”
In June, the commissioners approved a contract with In the Stix to add service to the park for $6,000 for five years.
At the time of the approval, Nick Weakland, part-owner of In the Stix Broadband, explained that the cost of a single business internet connection is $100 and that the business is basically putting in $15,000 worth of equipment at no cost to the county and that the county is basically paying a monthly service fee.
Weakland said that the partnership is rewarding for the company.
“It was incredibly rewarding for In the Stix as a company to be a part of that public-private partnership where if we focus our efforts to bring broadband to places that impact the most people in the most positive ways,” Weakland said. “It’s probably going to be the only way we’re going to solve this digital divide.”
Commissioner Scott Hunt noted that he feels broadband access is important in the event of an emergency.
“Duman Park is a county-owned recreation park with poor cellphone reception throughout the park,” he said. “I feel it is extremely important to have Wi-Fi access, so those recreating will have service in cases of emergency.”
When the contract was approved, Cambria County Director of Emergency Services Art Martynuska said that broadband affects how county officials do things from an emergency services standpoint and that the added coverage is “invaluable”.
According to Martynuska, broadband connectivity would allow first responders to send EKGs and other items to doctors in real-time in the event of a medical emergency.
Weakland said that the park will, for the most part, be covered with service and most phones should switch over to Wi-Fi calling automatically when cellular service is not available.
He also encouraged at-home workers to utilize the service.
“I would encourage somebody that works from home to take a day at the park,” Weakland said. “If you work from home, you can move your office, take it to a pavilion. Go sit in the shade at the pavilion and pack a cooler, and you should be able to do everything from that park that you can do from home.”