A second small business and end of the road internet provider presented to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors at Tuesday Night’s meeting at the request of Chairman Spencer Murray. Ronald Van Geijn, the founder of Eastern Shore Communications, told the board he started the company due to his own frustration over the lack of quality high speed internet on the Eastern Shore. Since its founding in 2011, ES Communications has expanded to 25 fixed wireless sites serving the Eastern Shore and now employees 9 people.
The purpose of Van Geijn’s visit was to discuss why high speed internet availability had not been progressing at a faster pace. Van Geijn cited issues working with its provider, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority. Echoing the sentiments of Declaration Networks CEO Bob Nichols, who was also at Tuesday night’s meeting, Van Geijn said the wholesale costs for internet from the ESVBA were prohibitively high. As a result, service can only be profitable in densely populated areas, the very areas the ESVBA is currently targeting for the first stage of its fiber to home plan for the entire Shore. The price has slowly come down, but is still much higher than wholesale prices in other markets.
Bringing a superior product to the areas with the highest profitability only means lower profit areas will suffer, according to Van Geijn. He added that under the current circumstances, expansion of his business is “impossible”.