Can Ting fix home Internet too?
No doubt Internet access (whether for home or business) is a space ripe for a little disruption. Traditional cable companies approach Internet service with the same “if it ain’t broke…” mentality as telcos, even though many among us would argue it is, in fact, ‘broke.’ They tend to operate with that same opacity and complacency that inspired us to make mobile service more fair, friendly and approachable.
So, yeah, let’s give it a go.
Today, we’re excited to announce that we bought the majority stake in a small, independent Internet service provider (ISP) in Charlottesville, Virginia called Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI). Just like that, we’re starting our new mission to bring the things that people love about Ting for mobile to the world of fixed access.
We love Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, mostly because of all the beautiful things that tend to surround a college campus – entrepreneurship, a strong focus on education at all levels, culture, creativity, philanthropy, activism… just the sort of activities that benefit the most from and contribute the most to the Internet.
We love BRI mostly because they are a smart, small, independent operator doing things differently. In short, BRI and Ting are beautifully aligned: We both believe in a hands-off approach to the Internet at large and a hands-on approach to customer service.
Together, we think we can bring home Internet subscribers in Charlottesville the sort of shockingly human experience and fair, honest pricing that our mobile phone subscribers have appreciated so much these past couple of years (love you guys).
More than delivering great service at a low price, this is the all-
important first step (every journey apparently begins with one of those) in a new Ting initiative to bring gigabit fiber optic Internet access to homes and business across the US.
We’re excited to help Charlottesville join the ranks of Provo, Utah, Burlington, Vermont, Lafayette, Louisiana and Omaha, Nebraska among other small towns and bustling cities that offer super fast Internet access to their residents and local businesses.
We love the various initiatives to widen the series of tubes that everyone knows make up the Internet. We see huge opportunities for us and the communities we’re looking forward to serving.
We admire what Google is doing with and for gigabit fiber Internet access, but for the Internet giant, access is more of a side project. Also, Google is a lot of great things but human scale isn’t one of them.
If a smaller, more customer-focused company player like Ting can pull off a win-win in a community like Charlottesville, it bodes really well for small towns and providers all over the country. For the record, we’re confident we can pull off just that, otherwise we wouldn’t start down the path.
Tucows believes very strongly in the open Internet. Up until now, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do but educate, agitate and contribute. Getting into fixed access, owning our own pipe, is an opportunity for us to practice what we preach when it comes to the open Internet and net neutrality.
So what’s next?
Unless you’re one of the fortunate few that already lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, maybe it’s a good time to check out U-Haul’s moving discounts and specials page to see what deals are on offer. I’m thinking of making the move myself. Maybe we can carpool, split the gas and make a road trip out of it.
Once you’ve settled in, sign up here.
If you’re happy where you are, don’t despair. We’ll be on the lookout for the next town or city in which we can lay down roots. Roots made of fiber optic cable and ultimately leading right to the home. If you’d like to see Ting Internet in your town, let us know on the Ting Internet page.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be talking about this, and our plans for the world of “fixed access” a lot more. The best place for Ting fiber and Internet news is on the Ting Internet page and, of course, right here on the Ting blog.