Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 14, 2013

New Internet provider brings 4G to rural northern Mich.

BY ANGIE JACKSON ajackson@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — High-speed Internet wasn’t always an option for Amy Wojciechowski and her husband at their rural Manistee home.

Her Internet system was just a touch faster than dial-up, so downloading videos was out of the question. Skyping with their young grandson didn’t happen. And for Wojciechowski, a West Shore Community College business professor, teaching online courses from home wasn’t easy.

Wojciechowski found a solution with miSpot, a new wireless broadband Internet service provider that reaches 37 counties in northern and central Michigan. The Michigan-based company brings 4G LTE service to residents and small businesses in rural communities.

“We can watch movies and do everything that real people do in big cities,” Wojciechowski said. “I think without this speed ... we should still be back in the dark ages.”

Anthony Dell’Acqua was hired as miSpot’s northern Michigan account executive. An additional employee will manage the central part of the state.

Dell’Acqua joined the company after eight years experience in wireless development around the country and a stint as a car salesman at Cherry Capital Cadillac. He grew up in Traverse City.

He was taken aback by the number of northern Michigan residents who don’t have high-speed Internet, either because it’s not provided in their area or is too expensive.

“I was surprised how many people don’t even have or never have had Internet, and if they had, it’s dial-up. The late ‘90s was the last time I had dial-up,” Dell’Acqua said.

But for many rural residents, dial-up or satellite were the only options before miSpot, said Chris Natzel, sales and marketing manager.

“We’re going to run roughly 100 times faster than that,” Natzel said.

The company is one of few in the country to deliver 4G to homes, Natzel said. Most 4G providers are mobile operators.

Natzel said miSpot aims to serve 4,000 to 5,000 customers by year’s end. Service ranges from $34.99 per month to $79.99 per month.

A portable device called a dongle that plugs into a USB port allows users to bring the Internet anywhere that can reach a miSpot tower signal. Dell’Acqua said it’s ideal for families who spend summers at a lake home.

Wojciechowski thinks it’ll be useful when visiting her cottage, which is “even more remote” than her home and doesn’t have a satellite Internet option.

“If I can use that there to do my schoolwork and correct grades and contact the students, I may never leave,” she said.