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Chief: New network to benefit Dickinson

Dickinson Police Chief Chuck Rummel was amazed when Flow Mobile representatives took him on a tour of the new wireless network recently installed in the city.

"It (the Internet connection) never even broke. It was just constant. It went from tower to tower," Rummel said. "It was amazing. It didn't skip a beat and it was fast."

Flow Mobile, of Bismarck, formerly Extend America, installed a broadband mobile and fixed Internet network throughout the city. The city permitted Flow Mobile the use of several light poles and in return the city will use the network for free.

Emergency officials like the Dickinson Police Department have been brainstorming ideas on how to use the network and have come up with exciting ideas, Rummel said.

"Eventually we'd like to get mobile data terminals in the vehicles, he said.

"A lot of the information that is required to go through the radio and through dispatch the officers will have access to immediately, they can do it themselves."

Along with cutting down on the time necessary to complete a task and radio traffic, Rummel said the network would also allow them to put temporary cameras at trouble spots throughout town.

The current network covers more than 90 percent of Dickinson, said Sree Tangella, chief executive officer of Flow Mobile, but over time 100 percent can be covered.

The network will eventually be available to the public, Tangella said and will enable them to connect to the network anywhere in Dickinson including in a moving vehicle.

Dickinson and New Town are two of the first five cities in the country to install such a network, Tangella said, adding Glenpool, Okla. is another, but declined to name the two others.

Tangella said Flow Mobile is making a concerted effort to bring affordable broadband coverage to the people of small town America because it is something the company's chairman of the board, Admiral Bill Owens is committed to.

"Any town, the ideal thing is basically 100 percent of the U.S. should be covered with broadband," Tangella said. "Unfortunately, if you look at the world ratings on broadband the United States is 24th."

Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel said the network provides another attractive attribute to the city.

"It is an economic benefit to the community because it's something that people moving into our community, businesses moving into the community, look for," Kessel said. "Having a wireless network like this is really beneficial so they can work from pretty much anyplace in the community."