Horses helping access cell towers in Western Wisconsin

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TOMAH, Wis. (WEAU) -- This past winter's snow storms made travel more difficult for a lot of people in Western Wisconsin, but it posed an especially big problem for cell phone companies, trying to get to their cell towers in remote areas.

But one cell company found a unique four-legged way to make sure engineers could still get to the towers in rough conditions.

It's the original kind of "horse power," helping engineers get vital equipment to the remote cell phone towers that serve Western Wisconsin.

When U.S. Cellular found that its plow equipment would get stuck in snow or mud while trying to go through difficult terrain, it turned to local farmer Jason Julian and his horses to help.

"If you look at how things are going, all our technology is getting smaller and lighter and smarter, well I'm smaller, I'm lighter," Julian said.

On Wednesday the horses brought new antennas up a steep hill to a cell tower near Tomah.

It solves U.S. Cellular's problems, and Julian says it's a form of renewable fuel that's often overlooked.

"The sun shines, the water falls, hay grows, you cut the hay, you make the hay, and you have fuel," he said.

Now, U.S. Cellular plans to keep this solution in place.

"He's helped us with several of them so far and it's really quite an impressive operation that they have going," said Brandi Vandenberg, Regional Planning Manager for U.S. Cellular.

Julian says he's been doing this with his horses about twice a week over the last month.

He says he'll probably do it about once a week during the summer, especially on the more difficult paths.

And he's not surprised to be using a historic mode of transportation to deal with today's technology.

"I can send my wife a text when we're done here. Everything went good, headed home," he explained. "They can break that down into ones and zeros and bounce it off that tower to a tower to Medford and my wife knows I'm coming home. Yeah, but the hill is kicking our butt, we need help getting up the hill. You know they can do all that to space and back but mother nature still wins and you have to have a way to get the stuff up the hill."

Julian owns Legacy Horse Logging in Medford.

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