Locally Owned Small Business Pioneered Wireless Internet Service in DC.
Washington, DC – April marks the 10th anniversary of DC Access, which is owned and operated by the husband-and- wife team of Matt Wade and Martha Huizenga.
DC Access provides Wireless Internet access to hundreds of residential and commercial clients in DC, with a focus on serving Capitol Hill. In addition to WiFi, DC Access also provides nationwide web hosting and nationwide dial-up.
Wade got the idea for DC Access while working as a computer-programming consultant. Frustrated with the unreliable connections and poor customer service he and his clients had experienced with national Internet providers, he set out to provide reliable, affordable Internet service combined with outstanding customer support.
He founded DC Access in 1999. The new company grew quickly and Huizenga – who had 14 years experience in the telecommunications industry – soon joined DC Access as a full-time partner. In 2003, DC Access embraced the emergence of Wireless Internet and added WiFi to its service offerings.
DC Access uses high-powered antennas to broadcast wireless Internet connections, eliminating the “last mile” connection problems associated with landline services and the need to order a physical connection from a large telecommunications provider. Wade and Huizenga partner with local property management companies and owners of residential and commercial multi-tenant units to secure strategic rooftop access for the antennas. Each antenna creates what is known as a Point-of- Presence (PoP).
“One of our first partnerships in 2003 was with the Cymrot family, to provide WiFi at one of their properties on the Hill – Lincoln Towers Apartments on 12 th Street SE,” Wade says. “In 2004, we expanded our reach into Northeast by installing a PoP on a building on Massachusetts near Union Station, and in 2005 we were able to offer WiFi to residents and businesses south of Pennsylvania Avenue SE in cooperation with Capitol Hill United Methodist Church near Seward Square.”
Subsequent partnerships with Evolve LLC and Yarmouth Management have allowed DC Access to provide WiFi in many more multi-tenant properties. Wade and Huizenga are continually looking for opportunities to expand their business, both on the Hill and elsewhere in DC. In late 2008, they began working with UIP Property Management to provide WiFi to six multi-tenant units in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
“We never want to sacrifice quality for quantity, so we’ve focused on steady, incremental expansion so that we can continue to provide personalized service to all of our customers,” Huizenga says. “Because we live and work in the community we serve, people know us as neighbors, and we want to maintain that sense of connectedness in the way we run our business.”
In addition to growing DC Access, Matt and Martha are committed to strengthening and supporting the local community, often donating or discounting their time and expertise to support high-impact projects.
For instance, they have worked with the School Libraries Project to set up wireless networks in public school libraries on Capitol Hill. DC Access also provides Internet to 12 DC Housing and Urban Development apartments at Kentucky Courts, and is the Internet sponsor for Capitol Hill Group Ministry and the Peabody School Within a School Auction.
DC Access is a member of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), and Huizenga has been active in WISPA’s recent legislative efforts in response to Broadband stimulus dollars. Wade and Huizenga also are strong proponents of smart growth and small business development on Capitol Hill. DC Access is an active member of CHAMPS, for which Martha currently serves as board president.