Broadband wireless business owner kept business powered by generators during storm

By Christy Hendricks

MATTHEWS, MO (KFVS) - Those who lost power, lost internet service as well.  But one father and son team from Wardell spent thousands of dollars, working around the clock to keep CompNet ISP, their business of providing wireless broadband service, up and running during the winter storm.
For those who lost power, you know the internet and TV are such important sources of information that when you don't have it you can feel isolated from the rest of the world.
When the ice storm hit two weeks ago, the only thing keeping 300 people in the Bootheel connected online was a lot of gasoline.
Eight generators served as a lifeline, powering the towers that send wireless broadband to hundreds in the rural Bootheel.
"We just keep going," said Billy Woodall, owner of CompNet ISP.  "We fill up. We got a gas station down there in Wardell we fill up every morning and every afternoon. We just keep going."
Keeping generators runing at seven sites proved tiresome, and even called for some ingenuity, using a truck battery for power.
"First night the ice hit we had invertors hooked up to our vehicles to give us 120 to our towers," Billy Woodall said. "I just pulled up to the tower run an extension cord to the tower and slept in the truck."
The cost is expensive.  Compare $200 a day during the winter storm to $75 a month otherwise for keeping the towers powered.
They're now down to running only three generators.
Billy and his son Chris say it's all about keeping people connected.
"Anything you do nowadays is internet based, from online banking, playing games, talking to relatives that are thousands of miles away," Chris Woodall said. "You gotta have it.
Woodall says they were out of power three days before getting their towers up and running on the generators.