Pinpoint towers bring innovation to area

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Courtesy Photo Assembly of a new 4G/4G LTE BLAZE wireless tower.

CAMBRIDGE, Nebraska -- As you travel through Southwest Nebraska, cast your eyes upon the skies above the vast landscape. When you do, you may glimpse one of the 22 cellular towers which soar high into the sky, providing the newest telecommunications technology to the farmers, ranchers and townspeople who live in and visit the Golden Plains of America.

Now nearing completion, the towers -- which average 195 feet in height -- are being erected by Pinpoint technicians to supply the latest in 4G and LTE communications to ten counties: Chase, Dawson, Dundy, Frontier, Gosper, Furnas, Hayes, Hitchcock, Perkins and Red Willow.

The widespread project, envisioned in 2012 and approved in 2013, has spanned most of this year, with crews from Pinpoint erecting towers throughout an area that extends from Arapahoe to Max and from Wilsonville to Orafino in southern Frontier County. Each of the cell towers serve a 20-mile circle, giving more than 400 square miles of coverage throughout the area.

Through Pinpoint's wireless provider, BLAZE Wireless, the company not only gives complete area coverage, but nationwide reach as well through roaming agreements with leading national carriers.

Executive Vice President of Pinpoint Communications, Tom Shoemaker

The project was accomplished with the encouragement and support of the Federal Communications Commission and the Nebraska Universal Service Fund. The work is part of a nationwide effort to build towers to reach previously unserved or undeserved areas.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission defines the purpose of the program as "ensuring that all Nebraskans have access to quality telecommunications and information services at affordable and comparable rates."

As a result of the innovation and investment, the region served by BLAZE Wireless is benefitting from the newest telecommunication technologies, identified by the terms 4G (which stands for Fourth Generation) and LTE (which means Long Term Evolution).

22 cellular towers, averaging 195 feet in height, are being erected by Pinpoint.

While 4G LTE will be exclusive to the McCook market and will help augment capacity and speed on the existing McCook network, all BLAZE wireless tower sites are being upgraded to a minimum of 4G service which means better performance out of the radio network and better services for BLAZE customers system wide. Customers can expect to receive the internet speeds they pay for on a consistent basis, stream videos without interruptions, and have the ability to utilize more complex mobile apps and products.

"We're proud to offer our BLAZE Wireless customers the opportunity to experience a more robust service for optimal user interface while on our network. We remain dedicated to our mission of bringing innovation and technology to the people of Southwest Nebraska," said Tom Shoemaker, the Executive Vice President of Pinpoint Communications.

Pinpoint Communications, which originated in the early 1990s, has grown from its beginning in Cambridge to a company with regional and national impact.

In total, Pinpoint Communications employs 95 people nationwide, of which 30 are based in Southwest Nebraska. "In addition to our home office in Cambridge and retail stores in McCook and Gothenburg, Pinpoint has offices in Carson City, Nevada, Milledgeville, Georgia, and Omaha, Nebraska," Shoemaker said.

Envisioned and implemented by J. Richard Shoemaker, who now serves as the company's chairman and CEO, Pinpoint established a national presence in the mid-2000's by developing the Chicago-to-Denver link for the fiber network. The fiber network which Pinpoint helped build and manage was sold this past year, allowing Pinpoint to focus on the telecommunication services it provides in Southwest Nebraska, as well as the fiber services it provides in Omaha and Carson City and the fiber-to-home retail operation in Georgia.

In addition to the cell tower development, Pinpoint's operations in Southwest Nebraska are highlighted this year by fiber network expansion with phase 2 of their Fiber-to-the-Farm and a Fiber-to-the-Home Build in Gothenburg. "The upgrades enhance high definition television service and also provide whole home, DVR and start-over TV. Start-over TV is a technique by which Pinpoint's television customers can go back four hours to recover programming," Tom Shoemaker said. Customers on these networks can also access ultra-fast broadband with speeds up to 1 Gigabit per Second.

"Pinpoint's roots are in Southwest Nebraska," Tom Shoemaker said. "We began as Cambridge Telephone in 1918. Throughout our company's history, the focus has been on the customer. We are dedicated to bringing telecommunications services to where our customers live, work and play."

The cellular towers, placed strategically throughout the Southwest Nebraska region, are high-rising symbols of Pinpoint's commitment.

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