Brazos WiFi Builds Better Broadband in Rural Texas
A common founding story among WISPA members is their frustration about a lack of broadband in their communities and the determination to do something about it. Jim Bouse in Brazos County, TX is no different.
Jim used to be a senior network administrator at Texas A&M. He had great internet access at work but a terrible connection at home. To fix that, he set up a high-speed fixed wireless connection to his house. Soon, his neighbor wanted the same thing. Then his neighbor’s neighbor did, and soon many more people were demanding Jim’s service.
And so Brazos WiFi was born in February 2012. What started as a hobby with a $30,000 investment out of Jim’s personal savings has grown into a company that provides fixed wireless and fiber broadband connections to over 1,500 customers in rural Texas, without using any state or federal subsidies. Brazos WiFi was 28th on the Aggie 100 list this year, one of the fastest growing companies owned or operated by Texas A&M graduates.
I visited Jim last week to hear his story and see what he’s doing. He has 10 employees that are still hard at work building fast broadband in Brazos County.
Jim and I climbed a grain silo to see where some of his equipment is mounted, some of their fiber, and told me about how they’re enabling precision agriculture by serving a cattle genetics company with a robust fixed connection, and by using a nomadic wireless connection to enable the company to track mobile assets on company property using 3.65 GHz spectrum and LTE gear.
Jim’s story is why it is absolutely critical that government recognize the needs of entrepreneurs in the broadband space. Whether it is spectrum, infrastructure, or subsidies, local innovators are poised to serve their communities. Hundreds of WISPA members like Jim are doing the same.