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Funding sought for Smart Pole technology

The Mathews Broadband Advisory Board will be asking the Mathews County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday to provide up to $400,000 in CARES Act funds for Smart Poles that would enable wireless broadband in underserved areas of the county.

The Mathews County Board of Supervisors will meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2, in the Harry M. Ward Auditorium at Mathews High School.

Speaking during the Aug. 18 BAB meeting, consultant Jeff Beekhoo of Broadband Telecom Services said that the poles, manufactured by Clearworld LLC, are a patented technology that provides off-grid, Bluetooth-enabled broadband capabilities. The poles are solar-powered, with lithium ion batteries, and may be outfitted with lights, cameras, charging ports, and other technologies such as traffic monitoring, flood detection, and even panic buttons. The City of Hampton installed 15 of the poles in one neighborhood in February.

The poles cost $14,500 each, said Beekhoo. Wi-Fi access costs an additional $7,500 pe...

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