Missed Connections

A Reliable WiFi: Startups in New York City Struggled to Stay Connected

broken internet A Reliable WiFi: Startups in New York City Struggled to Stay ConnectedYou’d be hard-pressed to find a shortcoming more embarrassing: startups in New York City have trouble getting a reliable high speed internet connection. Major parts of Manhattan are served by only one provider, and for most startups that is Time Warner–the company described by comedian Eugene Mirman as “managed like an ill-run Soviet factory.”

New York tech luminaries such as Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson have written about this issue before. Hunch cofounder Tom Pinckney calculated that each hour of lost internet is worth $1,000 in employee salaries. “We’re frankly not particularly price sensitive on this given how critical fast low-latency access is for our programmers. When our internet access is down our programmers cannot be productive and our site can’t be monitored — we’re helpless and twiddling our thumbs,” he wrote.

Not only do startup founders have an issue keeping the connection at Hunch in the techie Flatiron district–there is a Twitter account chronicling the shakiness of the connection for the five startups on that block of 21st Street–they also have trouble getting service at home. Mr. Dixon lives next door to Kickstarter’s Perry Chen. “We share internet and sadly our main topic of email conversation is ‘Is your internet working?'” he writes.

There is some feeling that reliable broadband service should be a focus of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s efforts to make New York a digital business hub, rather than building a tech campus or fleshing out the city’s Tumblr presence. “This is exactly what Bloomberg should be concentrating on. Forget building a “tech campus” somewhere, we NEED real bandwidth!” free range CTO Mike Caprio wrote on Mr. Dixon’s blog. Oh Google, why did you have to pick Kansas for your fiberoptic generosity?

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com

Comments

  1. This is why apartm.net has redundant internect connections. Whatever consumer-level connection we’ve had, it always goes out sporadically. TowerStream, however pricy, has never gone down. More to the point, when I accidentally unplugged the modem once, they called me 10 minutes later to find out what happened. When was the last time your ISP called you to tell you of a problem?

    1. Brian Maggiacomo says:

      Geat feedback Erin.  I’ve read these sentiments in the past, and have tried to get the word out that Towerstream services these areas with Business Class service, guaranteed at 99.99% uptime. bmaggiacomo@towerstream.com.

    2. Ben Popper says:

      Erin – you neglected to mention that your T-1 is a baller stream beamed direct from the Empire State Building.

      http://apartm.net/