BLIP Networks, LLC, gets internet service contract with the Murphysboro City

BLIP Networks, LLC, partners sit at Tuesday night's Murphsyboro City Council meeting, minutes after the council members voted 9-1 to approve a contract allowing them to install internet cable on the city's water tower.

MURPHYSBORO — Almost two years after leaders of a Murphysboro internet services provider company approached the city about attaching cabling to city water towers, city council members gave them the thumbs up to do so.

City Council members voted 9-1 to allow BLIP Networks, LLC, to install the cabling, allowing it to provide more thorough internet service to customers in Murphysboro. One of BLIP's founding partners, Ian Ellison, said Murphysboro becomes about the 12th municipality where it has or will install internet cabling to do business.

"Hallelujah!" Ellison said after the City Council meeting adjourned.

It was in October 2015 that partners of BLIP Networks approached the city council about installing cabling on its water towers to better provide service to the city residents. According to an Elevated Structure Agreement, the city of Murphysboro will be paid $500 a month for the company installing the cables on the 17th Street water tower, the Stave Mill Road water tank and the Eliza Brantley Road water tower.

The contract also calls for the city to receive about $650 a month in other internet services.

At the initial meetings, some of the City Council members raised concerns about the company's bonding rating and what impact any agreement with BLIP might have on the city's contract with Mediacom. There were also some concerns expressed about wanting to see the company's financial statements.

BLIP Networks, LLC, was started in Murphysboro in 2008, by a group of men, three of whom grew up in the city.

A few months ago, the Murphysboro City Council called for a 10-minute recess in its meeting for both sides to review the contract; representatives from both sides expressed concern about moving on the agreement and agreed to study it further.

Alderman Dan Bratton, who has opposed the placement of the cabling on the water towers, was the council's only "no" vote Tuesday night. He said he was not opposed to BLIP Networks, just concerned about the liability of anyone putting anything up on city water towers.

"Liability, liability, liability," Bratton said.

Ellison said the installation should start in about eight weeks.

stephanie.esters@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @scribeest

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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Murphysboro and Perry County.

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