HAMPTON — An Exeter High School student and his business partner have formed a new company that offers high-speed Internet at a much lower cost.
People living in Hampton Beach could be paying anywhere from $40 to $85 a month for internet through Airwave Networks, run by East Kingston native Al Datillo and his friend Trent Linville.
The two, aged 22 and 21, met in college at the Florida Institute of Technology when Linville had just launched Airwave. Now, they’re on a mission to help customers get off their cable and internet packages that can cost people upwards of $100 per month.
“Seacoast residents and businesses have long needed someone new to the market to deliver the speeds they pay for, all at a reasonable cost,” Datillo said.
How does it work?
Airwave uses radio frequencies to provide fast, low-cost Internet service. At this point, they said that they can only offer their service at the hyperlocal level. Service currently runs from near the Hampton Beach Police Station on Brown Avenue to just north of Boar’s Head.
Airwave is not the first company to offer wireless service over radio frequencies. They said the Starry company offers a similar service on a broader scale, covering areas of the city like New York and Boston.
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Airwave a technology student product
Linville founded the company in his home state of Indiana, where he also serves the southeastern part of the state. Now out of college, the duo decided to branch out to Datillo’s home area of coastal New Hampshire as well. They found a spot on top of a condominium building on Ocean Boulevard and have been up and running for about eight weeks.
Datillo said that gaining customers has implied an important re-education since many people are used to paying high prices for cable packages that offer internet, telephone and television. He said many people have been convinced by cable companies that leaving will result in poor service.
The average monthly cost of cable Internet bills was $116 per month in 2021, according to the US Cable and Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report.
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No contracts, just high speed internet
Datillo and Linville tout their service as contract-free, allowing for month-to-month service. Hampton Beach Village District Commissioner Chuck Rage, also a councilman and beach hotel owner, said the service will help many people who live on the beach for only part of the year.
“I think what is good about it. It’s something you don’t have to have permanently. You can do it seasonally,” Rage said. “That will help people who have condos.”
Airwave is currently working to expand its coverage to Ocean Boulevard along the North Beach boardwalk. Growth beyond Hampton Beach anytime soon is unlikely, they said, as they want to make sure they can maintain quality.
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However, they said they could add to the service they provide to the beach by working with local officials. They said they planned to meet with the city to discuss the new right-of-way access for locations to improve service.
Rage said he plans to talk to them about providing internet for the Seashell Stage, where the Village District holds late-night concerts in the summer. Datillo also said they could look into ways to provide free public WiFi by working with local officials.
“We hope to build a relationship,” Linville said.
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