For many business owners, the expectations that accompany reliable internet service are often stranded by a limited number of providers, slower internet speeds and impersonal service. These hurdles exist because the corporate Goliaths are rarely challenged. But just as David stood amongst the towering Philistine, one local owner has made a living staring into the faces of giants.
Jordan Smith is the owner and CFO of Key West Broadband, the only local Internet provider throughout the Keys. He rides in a bucket truck, installs the cables, handles accounts as an IT guy, rents space on towers and even climbs them.
“We focus on businesses that understand and require a high level of internet support, speed and flexibility,” said Smith. “What this industry often misses is how essential an internet provider should be in the everyday aspect of their client’s business. I want to know how a business works so I can shape and build a package for them that does more than just install a modem on the wall.”
Smith’s journey towards successfully creating and selling several major internet companies began in college. A fraternity house in Kansas City was fed up with the lack of reliability from their cable and phone companies. Known for his technical prowess, they called on Jordan and he responded by establishing a wireless link 30 miles away, which was a profound achievement during that time.
“My first wireless customer was a 200-person frat house and word got around quick that a guy could give them super-fast speeds on their computer,” said Smith. And with a laugh, he added, “I honestly think they were just looking for faster ways to watch porn.”
Soon after, Jordan’s knack for reliable service, secure internet and high speed connectivity quickly propelled the demand for his services in the way of major hoteliers in the Kansas City area, including such brands as Intercontinental, Hilton, Sheraton and Marriott. At any given point, over 10,000 hotel rooms were serviced by Smith. In addition to commercial services, Smith found a niche in providing internet broadband to major events, including NASCAR, a U.S. Presidential event and 60,000 fans at a major music venue.
“I love Kansas City and developed a broad base of life-long clients and friends,” said Smith. “But my fiancé and I were looking for a warmer place to call home, along with a location that was missing a local internet provider who could offer a deeper, consultative approach to their business, and the Keys were the perfect fit.”
Upon arriving in the Keys, Smith (an avid pilot) toured Monroe County by plane and created a map of cell towers and connectivity points. Using what is known as fiber products, Smith began delivering broadband services from strategic towers, into businesses using a small microwave antenna.
“The largest misconception about delivering a wireless service is security,” said Smith. Key West Broadband uses a secure system, military grade encryption. It’s easier to climb telephone poles and tap into cables than penetrating signals you cannot see.”
Key West Broadband covers from Key West to Tavernier and is rapidly expanding due to the high volume of satisfied clients. One of their first contracts in Key West was with the The Basilica School of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, which desperately needed internet service and was having trouble with a provider. Robert Wright, the school’s principal, said he was stressed about the situation.
“When I arrived in July at the Basilica School, our internet was out for a week. The service was touch and go for some time thereafter. Jordan Smith from Key West Broadband approached us with his service right before the school year began. He was able to offer five times the Internet speed at a fraction of the cost. With a 1:1 student iPad program to support, it was essential that we maintain the best internet infrastructure possible,” said Wright. “The staff and I are truly grateful for our relationship with Key West Broadband and the service that they have been able to provide.”
Currently Smith only works with commercial businesses including hospitality and hotels, marketing professionals, marinas and government offices. But Smith’s passion for broadband services expands well beyond his competitive drive to succeed in business. He also serves as a consultant to underdeveloped nations on the empowerment of the internet and how it can change the world.
“I fly around the U.S. and world helping other people initiate wireless businesses,” said Smith. “I try to put my money where my mouth is. I have projects in the Bahamas, Virgin islands and South Africa. In many of these areas they lack the infrastructure to provide internet. I work with the local governments and communities to change perspectives on internet and in turn, improve their quality of life…including everything from education to transportation.”
To contact Jordan or find out more visit his company website, keywestbroadband.com.