LITCHFIELD — Officials in December spent $375,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to completely cover the cost of Redzone Wireless setting up service in town.

The service, which will completely cover the previously underserved Litchfield, is set to go live in June.

Redzone met with Litchfield residents in the town firehouse and via Zoom on Thursday to discuss their progress and to answer questions about the service.

The company is offering three packages: $50 a month for a 100 megabits per second (mbps) download and 20 mbps upload speed connection, $75 a month for a 100 download/100 upload mbps connection, and $99 a month for a 500 download/100 upload mbps connection. Customers will not be locked into a contract. However, the monthly prices will be locked in for Litchfield residents as long as they keep their plan. They will be subject to any rate increases if they change plans or change services.

Redzone will install their equipment on four existing cellphone towers, allowing their new wireless technology to hit every residence in Litchfield. Two towers will be located in Litchfield with one in South Monmouth and another in Gardiner.

The company’s current timeline is to do structural and engineering work in March, fiber delivery in April, testing in May, and to go live with the service in June.


Redzone CEO Jim McKenna said that while they are currently ahead of schedule, they wanted to provide a conservative timeline.

“To be clear, the long pole in the tent is the engineering,” he said. “Even though we have relationships with all of these tower owners, there is still a negotiation process and structural analysis that needs to happen. UScellular in particular has a very involved and very expensive process. We’re happy to work with them, they have great towers, but that is the long pole in the tent.”

He said construction, on the other hand, only takes a couple of days.

Resident Jay Danforth, who attended via Zoom, raised concerns about the use of digital, as opposed to an analog signal. He said he had access to several TV channels with an analog signal, but once everything switched to digital, TV stations were too far away to reach his home.

“How do you guarantee that these signals are gonna cover Litchfield OK with the hills and the lakes?” he asked.

Aaron Tibbetts, infrastructure and engineering manager for Redzone, said the technology uses an algorithm that analyzes satellite data and maps out a heat signal in the town that predicts what the available signal will be, allowing them to determine what quality of service will be available to each home.


Danforth then asked if there would be an installation fee, and Tibbetts said the cost for Litchfield residents would be a one-time payment of $25 to have the equipment installed.

A woman who attended via phone asked if she should keep her landline, adding that she is living with a handicapped individual and that the telephone is her lifeline.

McKenna advised her to keep the telephone line, especially if its needed for a potential life-or-death situation.

“Telephone lines from the telephone company were built 100 years ago with public money for the public good,” he said. “They are earthquake-proof and bomb-proof. You can get a phone connection over the internet, but the internet was not designed to be as reliable as the telephone system.”

McKenna said the industry as a whole has “done a very bad job” of explaining how internet traffic works, and that the simplest analogy would be a highway for literal traffic.

“It doesn’t matter how many lanes you build on the highway; there could still be a traffic jam,” he said. “So that’s always going to be the case. What’s really important here is that Redzone is engineering this network with highways that are wide enough from the get-go so that for the foreseeable future you’re not going to have any traffic jams.”

Another attendant asked if the internet would go down in the event of a power outage.

“We’re building each of these towers with a generator backup,” said McKenna, “so when (Central Maine Power Co. electricity) goes down, and it does, these towers will continue to run.”

The presentation ended with an announcement that if the company is able to get 250 residents to sign up before April 17, they will make a $1,000 donation to the Litchfield Food Pantry. As of Thursday night, 65 residents had signed up.

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