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Boise, Idaho-based NomadISP is penetrating some of the nation’s most remote areas, and most isolated campgrounds, with the company’s high-speed, satellite-based, wireless Internet service.
“I can provide service anywhere in North America,” said Kelly Hogan, a co-founder and one of seven owners of NomadISP. “I think we’re one of the only companies that has done satellite connections.”
In fact, the technology is so new that NomadISP’s first dozen campground clients are just now starting to come online. And it’s allowed Hogan, unlike competitors that have emerged to meet the runaway demand for Wi-Fi linkage by targeting relatively large campgrounds near more heavily populated areas, to cater to campgrounds that are still a long way away from obtaining DSL service.
“We want to serve the campgrounds where there really aren’t any other options (besides satellite) and there won’t be for another four or five years,” Hogan said, adding that his company also was targeting very large campgrounds with its marketing efforts.
A subsidiary of Boise-based LinOra Corp., NomadISP got into the wireless Internet business nearly five years ago, initially developing Wi-Fi service for businesses in the Boise area using DSL connections. Soon, the company was working on technology to transmit the Wi-Fi signal via satellites instead of DSL lines.
By fall of 2002, NomadISP started testing a variety of satellite systems to develop a turnkey solution for campground operators. A functioning system reached the demonstration phase this past summer, when NomadISP hit the road with a trailer equipped with satellite transmission equipment, creating a mobile “hot spot” that company officials could use to demonstrate the effectiveness of satellite-based wireless Internet technology to campground operators in remote locations.
NomadISP spent the better part of the summer and fall testing its service in numerous locations throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as nearly 30 campgrounds and RV parks throughout the region.
Hogan said NomadISP’s mobile hotspot has not only generated leads, but given the company a chance to test the quality of its satellite-based wireless Internet signal in different environments, including those with different types of trees.
In one instance, NomadISP had an opportunity to provide high-speed wireless Internet service to the U.S. Forest Service, which conducted a series of meetings in the Ochoco Mountains in central Oregon. NomadISP also used its mobile hotspot to help the Forest Service improve its communication along various fire lines in the fall.
NomadISP sells the actual equipment to campground operators for about $2,000 so that they can own the satellite-linking devices and have the freedom to set their own pricing for the system. The equipment itself is usually mounted to the side of a bathhouse.
NomadISP manages and services the system for campground operators in addition to facilitating online credit-card transactions, which campers use to purchase time on NomadISP’s wireless Internet network.