By Amanda Shaffer
For The Preston County News & Journal
HAZELTON, W.Va. — Internet and highspeed broadband in North Preston County has been problematic, as many residents have either little or no access. But a Hazelton technology company is hoping to change of that by making a nearly $2 million investment in new fiber-optic lines.
“We are committed to covering as much of Preston County as we can to eliminate the broadband woes,” Digital Connections Vice President Tim Wotring said. “We plan to run about 100 miles of fiber to cover the northern section of Preston County and into Kingwood, with plans to go toward Terra Alta next year.”
Wotring, along with John Rockis and Bob Joseph, co-own Digital Connections, which opened in 1996. Today the company has grown, with officers in Hazelton and Morgantown, serving customers in the tri-state region.
“Digital Connections covers areas in West Virginia, Maryland and Ohio” Wotring said.
“About two years ago, Procom and Digital Connections came together with a working relationship called ‘Prodigi,’” he explained.
Procom, another local communications company, was started by owner Larry Sisler in 1986. Procom provides broadband services throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
“Procom provides fiber services in Deep Creek and Oakland, Maryland, Wotring said.
Currently, Prodigi is working on its services in the Bruceton Mills area, with current construction projects on Compressor Station Road and on W.Va. Route 26 south toward Kingwood.
“Once we connect into our current network in Kingwood, we will be able to access 1 Giga-Bite Internet speeds,” Wotring said. “Within six to eight weeks, that project should be complete.”
According to Wotring, the real selling point is the relationship his company has with Prodigi as an
Internet Service Provider (ISP). An ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet. The most common ways to connect to an ISP are by using a phone line (dial-up) or broadband connection (cable or DSL).
“We are our own ISP and phone provider,” Wotring explained. “We are not reliant on Frontier at all. We work directly with multiple connections to the Internet backbone and have multiple points of redundancy to provide the most stable services possible.”
According to Wotring, reaction from potential customers has been positive.
“The response that we have received thus far has been incredible—far beyond what I expected,” Wotring said. “I have even just been driving down the road in my truck and have had people waving me down to find out how to get services.”
While the primary drive behind Prodigi expanding its services throughout northern Preston County has been to provide reliable, highspeed broadband and internet service, the company also offers residential phone service and other home entertainment options.
“As of now, we’re looking at adding television to the lineup — at best by the spring of 2016,” he said.
Those interested in obtaining services through Prodigi can visit its website at http://www.prodigiwv.net or call their office at (304) 777-4444.