A new Kalispell business is hoping to dismantle expensive barriers to quality online access in rural areas using LTE cellular wireless internet service.
Similar technology has been used in other countries and other parts of the U.S., but hasn’t been widely used in Montana.
Velocity Communications, owned by Tyler Ament and Juan Rivera-Strandberg, is opening a storefront on North Meridian Road near the intersection with U.S. 2. They are remodeling the retail space and running a beta program before ramping up their clientele and expanding their service area.
Ament said there are many benefits to receiving the service, but chief among them is often price. More traditional methods of laying fiber optic cable to reach a home or business in a rural area can be prohibitively expensive. Those people have often turned to wireless services to get internet beamed to their home or business.
Ament said folks are likely to qualify so long as they are in an area that receives good cell reception. People can submit their address online to see if it will work.
What distinguishes Velocity is the payment structure, Ament said. Customers that get their home internet from cellular companies like Verizon pay by the gigabyte.
Customers under Velocity instead pay different rates depending on their download speed, which can be more appealing for people who rely on internet for business and entertainment on a frequent basis.
The offerings of the new company are simple. For $49 per month, a customer can get 30 megabits per second of bandwidth. For $120, customers can get 100 megabits per second.
For the next few weeks the company will continue with their beta program, where those interested can receive service for free so long as they are willing to let the company troubleshoot and figure out how to make the service more reliable. The company does charge a one-time fee, equal to what the first month of service would cost, for customers participating in the beta program but monthly fees after that are suspended for as long as it continues.
Ament says in February the company anticipates moving away from that model and having everyone on a paid subscription.
Adding new subscribers is easy compared to other types of internet providers, Ament said. People can sign up online, and the retail space offers devices customers can use to help guide the signals to their home. They can often be hooked up within a day.
For more information or to request information about service, go to www.velocitylte.com.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.