Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Last weekend Pioneer Broadband celebrated 10 years in business.  It is hard to believe that 10 years has gone by so quickly.

Back in the late 90s I was the Systems Manager (IT guy) for FA Peabody Company.  Following the Y2K hoopla one of my projects was to enhance the data connectivity between branch offices.   Back then we connected every office with leased lines and they were expensive.  Broadband was not an option.  Our Internet connection was a 384 kbps frame relay connection from MFX Internet.  MFX had just started dabbling in wireless broadband.  I did some network consulting for the guys at MFX and became interested in the technology.

One day while explaining the costs of upgrading our data lines to company President, Chris Anderson, we considered using a private wireless network to serve the branches.  At that time there were not branch offices in Caribou, Calais or Lincoln.  We designed a network on paper that connected Presque Isle, Mars Hill, Houlton, and Sherman together.

The investment in wireless technology was the answer to our connectivity needs at the time.   We built the tower in Monticello by the Blue Moose and secured leases on towers in Mars Hill, Presque Isle, Smyrna, and Island Falls.  When we completed the network we realized that we had excess bandwidth that could be used to serve business and residential customers in Mars Hill, Monticello, Houlton, Presque Isle, Smyrna, Island Falls, and Sherman.  And so Pioneer Wireless was born.

The company name was changed to Pioneer Broadband back in 2010 to reflect the true nature of our business…broadband.  Today, Pioneer maintains 85 wireless and DSL sites from Fort Kent to Lubec and Lincoln.  We own dozens of miles of fiber and lease hundreds of miles of fiber.  Pioneer was the first privately held company in the northeast to place a fiber optic cable across the US-Canadian border .  In 2006 we converted the old mainframe room in the basement of Key Bank in Presque Isle into a small datacenter and collocation facility.  We have grown from two people to a company of 13 employees and have offices in Houlton and Presque Isle and loyal subcontractors in Calais.  Pioneer is now installing Fiber To The Home in Houlton and Presque Isle.

I look forward to the next chapter in the history of Pioneer.

Written by Tim McAfee, CEO, Pioneer Broadband