Kamis, 08 Juli 2010

Beaver Dam, Waupun have new Internet option

The cities of Beaver Dam and Waupun now have another option when it comes to accessing the Internet.
Open Range Communications is now offering its high speed Internet, WiFi and unlimited local and long distance digital phone service to local residents as part of its effort to service 545 communities in 17 states which are currently underserved by the end of the year.
The Colorado company has been around since 2004, building its network and searching for funding. That funding finally came from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development in the form of a $267 million loan. One Equity Partners also chipped in with a private investment of $100 million.
Open Range launched its first service in December and entered the Wisconsin market in May.
“The concept is to offer high speed wireless 4G internet service to rural areas,” said Tonya Dixon, Open Range’s regional sales manager for Wisconsin. “It’s extremely simple. There’s one modem, you just plug it into an outlet, activate the modem and you’re up and running. It has built-in WiFi that allows you have up to five devices connected at one time.
“Our motto is ‘perfectly simple.’ We don’t require credit checks, contracts and there are no cancellation fees or installation fees. It’s a very easy product to manage and maintain.”
According to Open Range CEO Bill Beans Jr., the service’s portability makes it an attractive option.
“The world does not operate in a wired way anymore, and people are going to demand broadband service when they want it, where they want it,” Beans Jr. said. “The tradeoff is, by going to wireless, you do have some more possibility for interference, but we do our best to design around those issues. From a stability standpoint, it’s as stable as your cell phone network. The tradeoff with having mobility, portability, flexibility and easy use far outweighs having to go home and plug into the wall.”
The key to the portability is what regional general manager Philip Maxwell calls “the magic box.”
The Freedom 4G modem plugs into any outlet, or any vehicle with an adapter. Once it is plugged in, the customer has access to Open Range’s service.
That service, as tested by Inter-Quest, allows customers to download at a speed of 1.5 M while uploading at 768K, or comparable to DSL service.
“Our box can go anywhere with you,” Beans Jr. said. “It’s not like a DSL box. And it’s not just home, it’s available all around the city. It’s voice and data combined. This box is designed on purpose so it can easily be put into a briefcase. And it will get smaller. It’s designed so we can eventually tie it into our partner satellite and we’ll be able to use it anywhere in the country.”
Beans Jr. also believes price is another selling point. Customers can tap into the Open Range network for $40 a month for data only and $60 a month for data and unlimited local and long distance digital phone service. These prices include the rental of the modem.
Open Range can be obtained in Beaver Dam through Inter-Quest, 304 S. Spring St., and in Waupun at Q-Tronics, 313 E. Main St. Each community will also have local home agents able to connect customers to the service.
“We are going to need a lot of sales agents,” Beans Jr. said. “It’s a great career. They are full time with benefits.”
For more information on Open Range, visit www.openrange.net or call (877) 739-0888. Those interested in a sales position can contact Dixon at (312) 498-5994.
“Try us,” Beans Jr. said. “We just want people to try us. We want people to be part of our company, to try us, give us feedback and tell us what we can do better. We hear people want us here, they’re excited and people stop our trucks to talk to us. Now we just need people to buy from us so we can stay here and be successful.”
dbaulch@capitalnewspapers.com

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