Internet service provider Wisper ISP and telecommunications company Sho-Me Technologies have come to an agreement to expand broadband internet access to rural Missouri. Wisper ISP CEO Nathan Stooke tells Missourinet the deal will allow his company to access Sho-Me Technologies’ existing fiber optic electrical power network that spans 4,200 route miles.
“I believe Sho-Me (Technologies) has somewhere above about 200,000 members across their co-ops that they provide power to,” he says. “So we’re going to be building out to those, in addition to the past locations that we won. But Sho-Me’s fiber goes more than just their membership area. It goes all the way down to the Bootheel of Missouri. It’s goes up north past Jefferson City.”
Illinois-based Wisper ISP currently has about 5,000 Missouri customers.
Missouri is one of the worst states in the nation in rural broadband reach – impacting the speed at which business is done for companies, farms, schools, among other things. The federal government has awarded Wisper $220 million in funding to expand broadband internet to Missouri.
Sho-Me Technologies has been operating an advanced, regional fiber optic network since 1997.
“Missouri cooperatives have always been motivated by finding new ways to help improve the lives of their member-owners,” says John T. Richards, CEO & General Manager of Sho-Me. “We are happy to work with Wisper to help extend broadband service to many of the unserved and underserved areas of rural Missouri.”
“If we take it all the way back to when Lewis and Clark were going across Missouri, it took them forever just to go a little bit because there were no roads, there were no ways to go across,” Stooke says. “And what we’re doing is we’re supercharging our build by using the highway that’s already there. We can get internet anywhere where they already have it and then all we have to do is build off of that.”
Stooke hopes to get started on the work within about two months and says the company is hiring for a variety of positions.
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