Archive for Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lawrence-based Wicked may shift high-speed broadband project from Lawrence

January 30, 2014


A local broadband company that has requested public assistance to build a super-fast, Google Fiber-like network in Lawrence is warning that it may drop its Lawrence plans in favor of working with another community in the region.

Officials with Lawrence-based Wicked Broadband said they are reaching out to cities as far west as Salina and as far east as Columbia, Mo., about partnering to build a broadband network that would equal the speeds of what Google Fiber is offering in Kansas City.

Wicked's latest announcement comes as the company is awaiting a decision by Lawrence city commissioners on a package of requested incentives, which includes a $500,000 grant that would help bring the 1 gigabit Internet service to downtown and East Lawrence.

Some Lawrence officials, though, have said the city should give other broadband companies — such as WOW!, AT&T; and others — the chance to submit their own proposals before deciding whether to provide incentives to Wicked.

"Our preference is to do this project in Lawrence," said Kris Adair, a co-owner of Wicked and a member of the Lawrence school board. "It is where we live and where Joshua grew up. But if we can't do it here, we will look for another city just as committed to the project as we are."

Joshua Montgomery, the other co-owner of the company, said Wicked already has had preliminary conversations with Topeka about building a super-fast network there. He said Wicked will have developed a list of potential communities to work with by the end of next month. Lawrence's Public Incentives Review Committee is scheduled have a hearing on Wicked's incentives request on March 4. Montgomery said Wicked will wait until after that meeting to make a decision on how to proceed.


Terry Lee 4 years, 3 months ago

Don't let the broadband hit you in the broadside on the way out. Put your hand back in your pocket and move along....see ya!

Ian Cole 4 years, 3 months ago

The following is an excerpt from a letter in support of Wicked Fiber in the City of Lawrence.

“ Headquarters, Inc. has served this community since December of 1969 with free counseling available 24/7 to people of all ages . . . the heart of our agency is the 24/7 counseling, which like any on profit program , must be supported through multiple funding sources and volunteerism. Joshua Montgomery and his internet service have been generous supporters of our services since 2011. This support came at a critical time for our agency . . . The donated services allow us to stretch our limited dollars to meet other needs. In addition, the quality of the internet service enhances our counseling and suicide prevention . . . Without the quality of internet service available to us through Wicked, and the donation of those services, Headquarter, Inc. would not be able to provide the quality of services available now and in upcoming years. We urge you to consider this and the many ways that Wicked Broadband enhances the well-being of this community, as you consider their request for funding.” - Marcia (Director of Headquarters, Inc.)

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 3 months ago

It took only a matter of days for his true colors to show. He didn't want to play by the same rules as everyone else so he's taking his ball and going home! Enjoy Topeka, I hear it's beautiful this time of year

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"I can't say enough Good about Wicked Broadband! They in their goodness gave me Free Internet because I am 100% handicapped. I had a Traumatic Brain Injury. Wicked is something you can be Proud to say you helped." - William P.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 3 months ago

Who is everybody else? Wicked has a proposal online, that people can see. What have the other companies done? Nothing!!!

How many of the people who have commented so far have a business or startup, or have used high speed internet?

Or are they just haters of what Wicked is trying to do, or high speed internet, in general?

If Lawrence loses this opportunity, it may be years before high-speed internet comes to Lawrence. Other companies, such as WOW and AT&T, should have their internet plans online as well, if they have any - putting them online a year from now is too late.

it seems to me that Wicked is going in the right direction, and I'm all for it!

Julius Nolan 4 years, 3 months ago

Most of us don't have a problem with concept of high speed broadband. We seem to have a problem with Joshua and the lies and crap he has pulled over the years.Yes.I agree Wicked is going in the right direction, out of Lawrence, north, south, east or west. any of them is the right direction.

Ian Cole 4 years, 3 months ago

The following is an excerpt from a letter in support of Wicked Fiber in the City of Lawrence.

“Our household has been receiving internet service from Wicked Broadband for close to a year and the product and service have both been excellent. We were the first household to have access to the 1 Gbps Fiber services. . . .Communication with the company has always been quick, open and honest. . . . I highly recommend Wicked Broadband for their excellent service but I also love that this is a local small business whose owners are personally invested in the community and that is the type of company our city should be supporting.” - Kim Hirmas

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

Very curious, do you have specific examples? I know when the LJworld competed with Wicked/Freenet there was quite a bit of spin (nothing wrong with that, it was always disclosed). The only complaints I see now are the name change and he business format, but Sunflower/Knology/WOW changed more than Southwestern Bell/SBC/AT&T.

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"Joshua Montgomery owner of Wicked Broadband has been so kind as to provide all Habitat Homeowners free wireless Internet service. I cannot express to you the thoughtfulness of his generosity." - Cathy B.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence, calling someone who doesn't agree with you a "hater" is right out of the radical right playboy. it's also very childish. Surely you are more sophisticated than that?

Scott Burkhart 4 years, 3 months ago

I am sure you meant "playbook." The problem is, we don't have one. However, I do know what it is like to be called a hater. Also, just because I point out what I perceive to be injustices perpetrated by the left, does not mean I'm "radical." It means I want to exercise my first amendment rights. Throwing around "radical" is as ignorant as throwing around "hater."

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago


“Access to information should be free to everybody," said Montgomery, a Lawrence resident and employee at the Lawrence-based aerospace company DAR corporation. "It is the same reason that the public library should be free." --LJW Aug 1, 2005

A $4.9 million request by Lawrence Freenet is raising new questions about the company's not-for-profit roots. The company has promoted itself as a not-for-profit company with a goal of providing free Internet access to everyone in Lawrence. But company leaders recently conceded that the majority of all the revenue that the not-for-profit receives goes directly to a for-profit company that is partially owned and led by Freenet's founder, Joshua Montgomery. --LJW Jan. 29, 2008

The latest twist in the dealing with the company is its new name. Montgomery said the company dissolved the not-for-profit Lawrence Freenet organization last month. All future marketing will be done under the Wicked Broadband name, which is owned by Community Wireless Corp., a for-profit corporation that holds many of the agreements with the city. --LJW July 27, 2012

“Montgomery said Wicked plans to offer 1 gigabit residential service for $99.98 per month; 100 mbps service for $69.98 per month and 20 mbps service for $49.98 per month.” --LJW April 16, 2013

Officials with Lawrence-based Wicked Broadband say they have a plan to provide some of the fastest Internet speeds in the country to downtown Lawrence, but it will require a $500,000 investment from City Hall…. Without the grant money, Wicked plans to abandon the idea of the pilot project and is likely to put up for sale its existing fiber optic network in the city, said Kris Adair, a co-owner of the company.

"We want to work to make the project successful, but without the city's help we can't make this project successful," Adair said. --LJW, Nov 4, 2013

“I wanted to clarify that our first preference in this process was to give our operation to the City as a gift.” --LJW January 23, 2014 [comments section]

And finally, in today’s news, the citizens are basically being told that if we don’t accede to WOW’s demands, they are going to go elsewhere.

Apparently, Lawrence officials have caught on the the good old bait and switch, so Mr. Montgomery has chosen to chance strategies and threaten to take his ball and play elsewhere if we don't agree to his rules.

Mr. Montgomery, I wish you the best of luck with your new playmates.

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks Barb, but just a reminder: I am a recovering attorney.

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

That's a pretty accurate history of Joshua's history as well as that of the company. Amy I missing something? It's still free to low-income people and non-profits and is literally saving lives via the Headquarters Lifeline, a service that the former cable company gave only a token discount for.

That company went through less name changes and ownership changes than our local cable company and slightly less than AT&T which still operates for the most part as three separate companies providing service.

The only thing I don't understand is "And finally, in today’s news, the citizens are basically being told that if we don’t accede to WOW’s demands, they are going to go elsewhere." Is WOW leaving Lawrence. That would be rather fitting after they bought Knology which bought Sunflower.

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Dave, I obviously got the two W's [Wow and Wicked] mixed up, which should be obvious based on context.

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

Actually it wasn't. Considering the amount of jobs that left Lawrence with the shift from Knology and then Knology to WOW combined with the amount of money leaving the community and the lack of investment in a failing infrastructure, I wouldn't be surprised if WOW left this small market to pursue other larger interests. This community isn't profitable for ISPs. AT&T has stopped development of Uverse. During the meetings with the city I was involved in initially, there were significant fears that with lack of incentives to continue the national companies would simply provide the bare minimum services alive. Case in point: medicaom of Baldwin

Ian Cole 4 years, 3 months ago

The following are excerpts from two letters in support of Wicked Fiber in the City of Lawrence.

“I am the proud owner of a Habitat for Humanity home. Joshua Montgomery, owner of Wicked Broadband has been so kind as to provide all Habitat Homeowners free wireless internet service. I cannot express to you the thoughtfulness of his generosity. . . . . Please consider the request from Wicked Broadband for the grant so that more individuals in Lawrence can experience the generosity I have.” - Cathy B.

Another supporter has shared the following: “ Wicked Broadband is a locally owner, locally operated company and a good public citizen. They provide a free WiFi hotspot that extends from 6th St to 11St in Downtown Lawrence, free service for dozens of individual low income families and free service for local charities including Headquarters Counseling Center, the Homeless Shelter, Juday Worship Center, Ecumenical Christian Ministries, Just Food, O’Connell Youth Ranch and residents at the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority just to name a few.” - Carly E.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Rick Masters 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, that's that. Case closed!

Next subject, folks...

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"Wicked Broadband made it affordable for middle and lower class families to be able to have Internet access. Before Wicked Broadband their were many families in our community that could not afford Internet access." - Dawn D.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 3 months ago

I used the word "hate" specifically, not to refer only to Wicked, but to fast-speed broadband in general. There are a certain number of people who refer to anything related to broadband or the internet as foolish, or not worth anyone's time. I'm sorry, but I feel very differently.

No one has yet addressed why the other internet service providers haven't provided detailed plans of their plan to bring high-speed internet to Lawrence, and placed them on line. AT&T and WOW don't care anything about Lawrence, and they never have, except as a resource for more money to go to these large corporations.

By contrast, Joshua has provided low cost internet service to low-income people and non-profits, for example. Where is AT&T or WOW and since when are they providing the non-profits with high speed service? PLEASE SHOW me what they have done and their plans online. Let me see their representatives in Lawrence, and let's have interviews with them. Like I said before, one or two years, or five down the line, it won't make any difference, because Lawrence is going to be left behind, just like it has been so many times in the past, and I don't want that to happen. And that certainly includes the University (and I am a KU grad).

I would certainly be as pleased as the next person if AT&T's detailed plan were on the internet. BUT IT ISN'T.

And as far as hatred goes, the same people come on every time with negative things about Joshua, but WHERE IS THEIR ALTERNATIVE? They don't give any alternative. Many of them only do trash-talk, even with real names now for the Journal-World - and that, by the way, is a Journal-World policy that I like.

No one's perfect. But I am not willing to let Lawrence stay totally like it has been for so long, with the University not really open to on-line classes and reduced prices for people of all ages, a vocational school that has taken years in the making, hiking trails that were never realized, a City Commission who doesn't even know all the figures yet approves a Sports Complex, one central library instead of multiple smaller libraries throughout the city that people could ride their bikes or walk to... and it goes on and on.

Continued on the next comment below.

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence, it sounds like instead of an alternate proposal, they are simply going to prevent high speed internet projects from continuing. The fact this isn't reported in the JW but reported by one of the top consumer blogs in the country speaks volumes.

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 3 months ago

Things need to change. I don't mean a complete redoing of the downtown. It's one of the few downtowns left which has character and is worth coming to. But Lawrence has to adapt to new ideas (the Internet is not very new), start-ups, smaller recreation sites around the city instead of one which no one knows all the information about (it should be online), computers and internet for poorer people, and not just the university crowd, along with so many students who, at most, play video games when there is so much that they could really do in the world if they wanted to. And that includes my blog, which is never featured on the front page, but used to be when Alex Parker was here, and that's because the Journal-World is destroying citizen journalism, when it should instead be alive with interest and enthusiasm.

I would like to see Lawrence become part of the real world, not just it's own little place with almost no innovation. Lawrence has so many good things about it, but they are being slowly destroyed by people with power and money, often hiding behind institutions. It that what is meant for this town in the years to come?

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

It's quite interesting that multiple national and international news outlets have reported on the story. I think the only reason it's not being reported: They quote Joshua ;-)

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

Both statements are entirely compatible with one another :-)

Thomas Luxem 4 years, 3 months ago

Doesn't Wicked still owe money to the City of Lawrence?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

Kansas cable lobbyist writes bill outlawing Google Fiber and municipal broadband, gets it tabled in Kansas...

When Kansas lawmakers tabled a bill outlawing municipal broadband network, there was no sponsor's name on it. Rumor has is it was written by a lobbyist called John Federico, who is president of Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association.

The bill masquerades as a pro-competition measure (pro-competition initiatives from the cable industry! Pull the other one), but it effectively prohibits measures like the wildly successful Google Fiber project in Kansas City.

Given that the big carriers and cable companies have shown no interest in providing fiber or even reasonably priced, reasonably provisioned broadband in most markets, this means that most people in Kansas can kiss any hope of a read broadband life goodbye.

This alleged corrupt activity comes second nature to Sam ALEC Brownback therefore it just might be real.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

Other news sources say Sam Brownback's best friend and political fundraiser is behind the legislation to stop Google high speed broadband cable in Kansas.

Yes it is the Koch brothers PAC aka ALEC.

"Let me explain what this means. When a new provider comes into a market, they generally want some assurances; the right of way from a city, use of public right of ways, and yes, they in many cases will go for city buy ins, like tax incentives or the use of public space for property.

This is VERY true in rural communities, where without city governments investing, there is no broadband internet at all, and in Kansas City, where Google received tax and city help in laying lines and services.

Now, the state of Kansas wants to make sure that the best kind of competition is.. no competition.

The first problem is the definition of unserved. A proper definition of unserved would involve whether the identified area has access to a connection meeting the FCC's minimum broadband definition delivered by DSL, cable, fiber-optic, fixed wireless or the like. These technologies are all capable of delivering such access.

However the bill also includes mobile wireless and, incredibly, satellite access. As we have noted on many occasions, the technical limits of satellite technology render it unfit to be called broadband, even if it can deliver a specific amount of Mbps.

Satellite just does not allow the rapid two-way transmitting of information common to modern Internet applications. Mobile wireless comes with high costs, prohibitively low monthly caps, and often only works in some areas of a rural property. This is not a proper measure of having access to the Internet.

By arguing that access to a cell phone = internet access, many areas of Kansas will be stuck with NO internet services, and cities may find themselves in hot water, being forced to get out of the internet business for their citizens. "

1/20/14 Daily Kos

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

How It Works.

To the home -

How Hot Spot Works -

More info for those who want it. starts here.

How many business operations want faster and faster and faster internet?

How many homes need or want faster and faster and faster internet? I cannot see an advantage for this resident.

Should it be made available accordingly?

Who should pay? If this service is primarily designed for the business community why should all in the community be held responsible for the expense? The University?

Can the service be picked up through a "wireless signal"" from KCMO.

How much should users pay?

Can a small town afford to do what Kansas City,Mo does?

Kansas City metro has potentially 2 million taxpayers as opposed to perhaps 75,000 in Lawrence?

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"Investment in Lawrence's future must be broad based, but unlike many of the other development projects, high speed fiber does not change the "nature or character" of the city, it allows us to magnify and enhance it." - Greg T.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

This electronic industry has over time raised a ton of questions in my mind. For example How fast can it get? It is possible to have the fastest internet on earth?

It's the same with computers and cell phones. More bells and whistles keep coming.

Is there an end? Progress is one thing but getting duped is another.

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"I have been a customer of [Wicked Broadband] now for almost 3 years now. During that time I have found their level of customer service to be almost beyond compare......when is the last time you had a company take the initiative to fix a problem BEFORE you contacted them?" - Derek F.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Fred Mion 4 years, 3 months ago

Joshua Montgomery and Co. have over-promised and under-delivered their entire tenure in Lawrence. Let them go to another city!

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

“The thing I appreciate most, other than the savings, is the first-name, honest help that I get from the people at Wicked Broadband.” - Jeff M.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"[Joshua Montgomery] came to Delta Delta Delta to establish the new and improved Internet connection......Needless to say, the Internet connection is now fantastic." - Paxton R.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Dave Greenbaum 4 years, 3 months ago

Alexander, I was referring to "Fred"s comment about under promise/over deliver. I know lots of negative things are said about Wicked/Freenet/Joshua Montgomery. In reality, it's a perfect example of Citigeneis. No facts to back it up expected self-disclosed biased reporting by a local newspaper. The letters you and others quote seem to counter that. While it's true that they changed names and business models, that's just how business works and it's possible some posters don't understand that.

Alexander Turing 4 years, 3 months ago

"We don't have a paid network manager, mostly because even that part was installed by Wicked Fiber simply to benefit Triangle Fraternity. I have often spoke to friends and family about how much I appreciate this company and its service. I hope this letter of recommendation will serve to convince another to give them a try to find out for themselves." - Eric B.

To see this letter in its entirety please visit the link below:

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

Kansas cable lobbyist writes bill outlawing Google Fiber and municipal broadband, gets it tabled in Kansas...

Adopted by the Telecommunications & Information Technology Task Force at the Annual Meeting, August 9, 2002. Approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors September, 2002.

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