HAMPTON — An Exeter High School alum and his business partner have formed a startup company that offers high-speed internet at a much lower cost.
People living in Hampton Beach could be paying between $40 to $85 a month for internet through Airwave Networks, run by East Kingston native Al Datillo and his friend Trent Linville.
The two, ages 22 and 21, met in college at the Florida Institute of Technology when Linville was just launching Airwave. Now, they are on a mission to help customers get out of their cable and internet bundles that can run people well over $100 per month.
“Residents and businesses of the Seacoast have been long overdue for someone new in the market that delivers on the speeds they pay for, all at a reasonable cost,” Datillo said.
How does it work?
Airwave uses radio frequencies to provide low-cost, fast internet service. At this point, they said they are only able to offer their service on a hyper-local level. The service currently stretches 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 through radio frequencies. They said the company Starry offers a similar service on a wider scale, covering city areas like New York and Boston.
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Airwave a product of tech students
Linville started the company in his home state of Indiana, where he also has service provided in the southeast portion of the state. Now out of college, the duo decided to expand to Datillo’s home area of the New Hampshire Seacoast as well. They found a place on top of an Ocean Boulevard condominium building and have been in operation for about eight weeks.
Datillo said gaining customers has involved significant reeducation since so many people are accused of paying high prices for cable bundles that offer internet, phone and television. He said many people have been convinced by cable companies that leaving will result in poor service.
The average monthly cost for cable-internet bills was $116 per month in 2021, according to US Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report.
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No contracts, just high-speed internet
Datillo and Linville tout their service includes no contracts, allowing month-to-month service. Hampton Beach Village District commissioner Chuck Rage, also a selectman and beach hotel owner, said the service will help a lot of people who live at the beach for only part of the year.
“I think what’s nice about it. It’s something that 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 on expanding its coverage to further up Ocean Boulevard along the North Beach seawall. Growth beyond Hampton Beach any time soon is unlikely, they said, as they want to ensure they can maintain quality.
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However, they said they could be adding to the service they provide the beach by working with local officials. They said they planned to meet with the town to talk about new right-of-way access for locations to enhance service.
Rage said he plans to talk to them about providing internet for the Seashell Stage where the Village District holds nightly concerts in the summer. Datillo also said they might look at ways to provide free public WiFi by working with local officials.
“We’re looking forward to building a relationship,” Linville said.