While residents of a RV park in South San Francisco had years of poor internet access, Minnesota-based wireless technology company Kwikbit was able to connect the entire park to multiple locations in 30 minutes using existing lines.
“This RV park had fiber optic cables for over a decade. The fiber has been sold to various companies over the years. Nobody would plug the people in and the people who owned the fiber said we weren’t going to plug the people in, it was too expensive, ”said Joe Costello, CEO of Kwikbit.
The company took the fiber optic link and distributed it around the RV park, connecting people within 30 minutes. The longest part of the process was waiting eight weeks for the fiber optic company to connect, he said.
“This is a technology that has been in development for probably 20 years,” said Costello. “This is a very fast wireless technology.”
The problem with fiberglass, a very thin piece of glass filament that uses light to transmit, is that new cables must be run and it is expensive to install. The company uses wireless technology that provides high fiber-like speed by creating a fiber optic connection and using small radio transmitters in a small box that is about 6 “by 4” by 2 “. With 100 gigabits, fiber optic itself is faster than necessary, he said.
“We can do a gigabit. But we’re ten times faster than DSL and cable, ”he said.
Fiber broadband is now available to more than 30% of homes in the United States, and fiber networks are expected to reach 50% of homes by 2025, according to a study by the Fiber Broadband Association.
The percentage that fiber isn’t around are disproportionately low incomes and people of color, Costello said.
“The vast majority of people do not have fiber and unfortunately the people who do this are disproportionately rich. So that’s where the digital divide comes in, ”he said.
The pandemic also highlighted the need for an internet connection as people relied on it for work, health care, socializing, and more.
Last year the company visited Corning, an agricultural school in Northern California, and found that 60% of students did not have adequate internet connections.
It’s working to reach more communities, including RV parks in Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, San Jose, and Redwood City.
“Mobile home parks are really good because they have been completely overlooked and concentrated by all internet providers,” he said.
It also focuses on small cities and areas that need better broadband coverage.