Letter: A look at Flow Mobile
1. What exactly is Flow Mobile?
Flow Mobile is an operator providing broadband services to home and to mobile devices everywhere in town. We deployed a fully mobile broadband solution in Dickinson, which is the first of its kind. Visit www.flowmobile.com for more details.
2. Why do they get free use of the infrastructure (I guess that means being installed on city-owned light poles and buildings) when we have just been told we will now pay a monthly fee for use of street lights?
The term "free" was misinformation being spread about Flow Mobile to thwart the development of a new operator and a competitor. We have a contract with the city that allows us to deploy base stations on light poles that are owned by the city and by MDU, which is based on a fee. We don't have any exclusive rights in this contract. The contract itself is in the public domain.
3. Is this why some of my cable stations have interference during certain times of the day?
Flow Mobile's network operates in 2.4 GHz spectrum. This spectrum has nothing to do with cable stations or satellite stations. This spectrum is setup by the FCC with power limitations etc for networks like the one Flow Mobile has deployed. We do not interfere with any TV stations.
4. How much did the city (read tax dollars) pay for Flow Mobile?
Please note that it is easy to be vague and non-specific and just use terms like "tax dollars" to create doubts in people's minds. We have not received any money from the city of Dickinson. Flow Mobile is a privately funded company and we spent our own money to deploy this network. We operate it as a commercial organization.
5. Who is using it?
Currently, Flow Mobile is providing broadband services to a few hundred subscribers in Dickinson including: the people of Dickinson, businesses in Dickinson, the city police and the Public Works Department. The city police and the Stark County Emergency Response Team used our service during the tornado in July.
6. Is the street light fee really being used to pay for Flow Mobile?
Part of the answer to this question is in the previous answers to questions 2 and 4. The street light fee is not being used to pay for Flow Mobile. Flow Mobile uses its own money to deploy and operate this network.
Kristyn Steiner, Corporate Marketing for Flow Mobile, Bismarck