One Bent Mountain resident brings broadband to his community

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Neighbors on Bent Mountain just got high-speed, wireless broadband -- thanks to one individual. To celebrate, Roanoke County Officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday at Bent Mountain's Fire and Rescue.

Ethan Gleiner was frustrated with broadband and internet access issues on Bent Mountain, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

"It feels really really good but also nerve-wracking," Gleiner, the owner and operator of his company, MtnNet, said.

He brought high-speed, wireless broadband to Bent Mountain. Gleiner calls it MtnNet--a new residential internet service company. Roanoke County officials celebrated with a ribbon cutting.

"I basically just started researching how it all functions and the types of equipment that people use for it," Gleiner said.

From there, he spent a year setting it all up for his neighbors to use. Before MtnNet, internet was, "Practically nonexistent, the only way we get it is through a hot spot off our cellphones basically, where I am not close enough to any of the Verizon lines or the Cox lines, and they won't put anymore in," Bent Mountain resident Terry McKim said.

Gleiner echoed, "To give you a reference, if [residents] watched Netflix, either they'd be able to watch it in extremely low resolution, so if you watched it on any kind of larger screen it would look terrible, but now they can stream Netflix without any issue in high definition."

But thanks to Gleiner's hard work, "This is an extremely exciting point because we're actually going to get back being connected to the world!" McKim said.

MtnNet should serve around 125 homes--almost a quarter of the community.