Last week, Collins was in Royston talking to the owners of Paladin Wireless.
For most customers in our area, Windstream is the only wireless service available and Collins has said his office fields more complaints about the poor Internet service Windstream provides than any other complaint.
Over the past year, Collins has demanded Windstream prove how they have spent the $14 million in federal dollars they received to upgrade their system and he says his office continues monitor their progress.
“What we’ve done is kept up the pressure on Windstream” said Collins.” We have no problem with free Enterprise but when you take Federal dollars to grow your business, you have to be accountable for how those dollars are spent. The problem we’re seeing is a lot of the commitments they were making, even from their own brochures, is that they were more focused on the more profitable urban areas and all but saying, we’re going to let the rest of the areas take care of themselves.”
According to Collins, Northeast Georgia has good growth and for that growth to continue the region needs fast, reliable Internet service.
That’s one reason why he is visiting new Internet provider start-ups like Paladin Wireless.
Paladin Wireless owner Steve Fortmann says he quickly saw a huge need for reliable fast Internet service when he moved his business to Royston from metro Atlanta.
“The internet either was always going down or the train would go by and it would cut off. The up load was only .06 and with that you really can’t do anything. The dirty secret of the internet is, it doesn’t how fast a download is if you can’t ask for a file quick enough, you’re not going to be able get it.” said Fortmann.
That’s when he discovered other businesses and residences in the area were as frustrated as he was so he developed his own Wireless Internet service.
Fortmann says since he began offering his Internet service in the Royston area, the demand has grown exponentially so that now they are expanding to other parts of Northeast Georgia.
“But we had people all across Northeast Georgia coming back to us and at that moment have this ah-ha.This is 2015. we have the technology to fix this. So we started studying equipment and RF and antenna’s and now we’ve gone from no customers on line and 1 broadcast tower and maybe five square miles of coverage. We’ve got more them 80 square miles of coverage of 10 megs or better of service, eight broadcast towers, and over 150 customers and all this since January.” Fortmann said.
Windstream and larger Wireless Internet providers receive federal dollars to help with their growth.
Collins said he is now in talks with fellow lawmakers on Capitol to see about helping to fund the smaller start-ups like Paladin Wireless.
“we’re having to explore some issues right now with that especially the way the funds are distributed. There’s some discussion on if the company has got it, is it available for others. There have been some other utility providers who would say we’ve got the infrastructure and we can help with this but they were also looking for those funds. Those are the kinds of questions we are having to ask now. said Collins.
For more information on Paladin Wireless in Royston you can visit their Web site at http://www.paladinwireless.com/