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Data Stream plans to install broadband equipment on the water tower in Catlett.

Members of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors are moving ahead with an agreement to pay Data Stream Mobile Technologies Inc. $1.7 million to install telecommunications equipment on towers, county-owned assets and water towers.

As part of its initiative to expand broadband service, the county will purchase the equipment and Data Stream will pay a fee for its use. The agreement also sets performance targets the company must meet.

Initially, Data Stream will equip the Calverton cell tower, the Fauquier Water and Sanitary Authority water tower in Catlett, the Warrenton water tower, either the Bealeton water tower or Luck Stone in Bealeton, Lovers Lane cell tower, U.S. 17 American tower (Cecil Campbell property) and the Bear Wallow Road cell tower.

Sites in Casanova and Goldvein may be added after Jan. 1, 2020, provided Data Stream meets certain requirements. All of the initial seven sites are to be operational and each must have at least 10 subscribers before it can work on the additional sites.

The county can terminate the agreement if Data Stream fails to make operational at least four of the seven sites.

Data Stream will get a $235,000 payment for each site. It will be reimbursed the rent money it pays on the sites as long it continues to provide service and support to subscribers.

The county will pay Data Stream $10,000 per month through Dec. 31, 2020 for personnel dedicated solely to the Fauquier project. Data Stream will pay the county 20 percent of all subscriber fees.

The county is to locate office space for the company to use locally.

Supervisor Rick Gerhardt, Cedar Run District, said the county is pursuing two tracks to expand broadband in the county – the incentive agreement with Data Stream approved on Thursday – and a comprehensive agreement. That agreement is being worked on and will be the subject of a public hearing that will need to be held before the supervisors can approve it.

In a separate action, the supervisors on Thursday also approved the execution of a lease with the Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority to use space on water towers for telecommunications equipment. Initially, the Catlett water tower will be used with others potentially added later. The five-year lease calls for a monthly rent payment to WSA of $1,500. No payments are due the first year.

The board on Thursday also authorized County Administrator Paul McCulla and County Attorney Kevin Burke to negotiate the terms of an expansion of a tower on Cromwell Road in Catlett from 120 to 145 ft. in height. Crown Castle – a Herndon, Va.-based provider of telecommunications infrastructure – planned to increase the height from 80 to 125 ft. although a special exception allowed it to go as high as 145 ft. The county will pay to extend it another 20 ft. to get it to 145 ft. so that there is room for two more service providers. The county will receive royalties from those two providers and be guaranteed the top position on the tower.

Reach James Ivancic at jivancic@fauquier.com

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