Homegrown internet provider increasing coverage across Kitsap

Information Technology expert Andrew Horton of North Kitsap has grown “sick and tired” of the lack of high-quality internet in the area so he decided to do something about it by starting Kitsap WiFi four years ago.

The business is beginning to see the fruits of its labor in terms of clients and areas of coverage, he said.

“We don’t really have anything in North Kitsap where people have been doing it for twenty years,” Kitsap WiFi CEO Horton said. “Our thought was we’re going to do something different. We’re going to create redundancy and bring in big fiberoptics to Kitsap County.”

The business, based in downtown Kingston, has clients across Kitsap County, both business and residential. Services the business provides include fiber internet, WiFi, computer repair, global VoIP calling, co-location, dedicated servers, and virtual private servers, its website states.

“We have a fiber ring that basically runs between Bainbridge, Kingston and Seattle,” Horton said. “We have four different routers that always connect to each other, and they go backward too. So if something drops or goes offline we don’t lose connectivity. It’s really expensive to do but going offline costs even more. I had a client who was down for six hours because fiber dropped…and he lost $10,000 in business that day. That’s not acceptable.”

Kitsap WiFi provides its own internet through Kitsap Public Utility District’s fiber network.

“We are the only locally owned internet provider that has our own private fiber backbone,” Horton said. “We don’t resell from KPUD. We do have fiber with KPUD but we don’t rely on (them) to provide us internet so we brought our own in. You can’t rely on just one provider.”

Clients include chambers of commerce in Kingston and Bainbridge Island and Trinity Broadcasting on top of Gold Mountain near Bremerton. It also is looking to provide internet for communities like Driftwood Keys in Hansville and the Port of Brownsville, Horton said.

“We want to be there to help people,” he said. “Customer service is everything. We just take care of our local businesses and help them out any way we can.”

Noting that prices are on the higher side, Horton said it’s about providing quality over quantity. “If it means not having 10,000 customers, that’s OK with me,” he said.

Horton has nearly 24 years of experience IT experience, such as networking, computer repair, software, hardware, etc. “You name it, I’ve done it,” he said. Kitsap WiFi has four employees but Horton said they are looking to expand, possibly even providing some internship opportunities for local high school and college students.

Other internet service providers in Kitsap include: Net253 LLC on BI, Convergence Technologies and NW Commnet LLC in Bremerton, Guessworks Inc. and Community Concepts in Poulsbo, and Astound Broadband powered by Wave in Port Orchard.

For details, visit kitsapwifi.com.