Certification Reflects Uniqueness of DC’s Only Local Wireless Internet Service Provider
Washington, DC – DC Access was recently recognized by the District of Columbia as a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) and qualified for inclusion in four CBE categories: Local, Small, Resident-Owned and Disadvantaged.
Designation as a CBE – formerly known as Local, Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or LSDBE – places a company into a DC agency database. The District directs spending to registered CBEs because they support a stronger local economy by contributing to job creation and the city’s tax base.
DC Access, which is locally owned and operated by the husband-and- wife team of Matt Wade and Martha Huizenga, is DC’s only local Internet Service Provider (ISP). Last year marked the 10th anniversary of company, which provides Wireless Internet (WiFi) to more than 500 residential and commercial clients in Washington, DC.
The CBE designation reflects much of what makes DC Access unique in its sector, including some distinct disadvantages.
“Over the past 10 years, we’ve steadily established a reputation for providing fast, friendly, reliable Internet service,” Wade explained. “However, operating a small, locally owned business in an industry dominated by huge corporations like Comcast and Verizon sometimes makes it very difficult to compete.”
For instance, because DC Access has limited access to capital, the company cannot afford significant up- front outlays for equipment, such as the rooftop antennas and routers needed to provide Wireless Internet (WiFi). As a result, DC Access must pace its growth to align with cash flow.
Being small also creates big challenges when it comes to marketing and brand awareness.
“We can’t begin to match what the big telecom companies spend on advertising and public relations, and that limits our ability to reach new customers,” Huizenga said. “We also find that some potential customers are leery of choosing DC Access simply because we don’t have the same level of name recognition as the national providers.”
Despite the undeniable challenges that go hand-in- hand with being small and local, Wade and Huizenga have built their business on the premise that being small and local actually offers many advantages to their customers. They also are committed to running a business that has a positive impact on the community where they live and work. They hope that CBE certification will help set them apart from the telecom giants and open the door to new opportunities.
“CBE certification is another important step in our journey as a small, locally owned business,” Huizenga said. “Not only will it allow us to pursue projects funded by the DC government, but it’s also a designation that we think our customers and community partners will recognize and value.”