Sell A Broadband Alternative
It might seem like cable companies, telcos, and ISPs (Internet service providers) have a lock on the SMB and consumer broadband market, but Wheatland Electric has a different opinion. A few years ago, the cooperative electric utility experienced a rate hike in its leased line to the Internet from $2,500 a month to $12,000 a month due to regulatory changes. Wheatland solved the problem by implementing a wireless connection to its ISP, which led to the co-op evaluating the plausibility of extending wireless Internet access to its customers.
Prior to creating Wheatland Broadband, the utility considered the challenge of deploying access to every business and residential customer in its demographically sparse region in western Kansas. The co-op concluded fixed-wireless technology was the answer for customer access and network backhauls and began testing multiple broadband wireless systems, including Wi-Fi. Wheatland found most systems lacked the reliability necessary to implement carrier-class services that could compete with DSL and cable. One wireless solution that did meet the co-op’s requirements, however, was Alvarion’s BreezeACCESS solution, which Wheatland purchased through value-added distributor Alternative Technology. BreezeACCESS supports multiple unlicensed radio bands, including 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz in a single system and takes advantage of the strengths of each frequency on a single solution, platform, and management system.
Add 24/7 Support To Your Wireless Broadband Offering
Leveraging BreezeACCESS’ ability to be customized, Wheatland Broadband deployed service using a three-sector architecture to achieve a balance between cost, throughput, and range. Because the BreezeACCESS CPE (customer premise equipment) connects directly to the subscriber’s PC and requires no software installation, Wheatland can typically initiate service in less than two hours to clients as far away as 18 miles.
Within months of initial deployment, Wheatland connected more than 1,000 member customers to its wireless broadband network. “Today, we have 2,500-plus member customers,” says Jevin Kasselman, director of Internet services at Wheatland Broadband. “We handle all of our own service calls, take calls 24/7, and dispatch technicians in the middle of the night if necessary, which gives us an advantage over our competitors.”