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October 7, 2015

Sector Portrait

Telecommunications: Whatever, Wherever - and Fast

Florida's telecommunications providers are scrambling to meet demand.

Allen Byington admits he's not an IT guy. "I actually got into technology to publish content from another industry I was in — before the web was the web," says the founder and CEO of Electronet Broadband Communications and executive director of Big Bend RHIO (regional healthcare information organization) in Tallahassee.

Allen Byington
Allen Byington
That search in the mid-1990s for a better way to exchange information on automatic transmissions led to the founding of Electronet in 1996. "All the tech support material was on paper, and you couldn't find it," he says. One of Tallahassee's earliest internet service providers, Electronet focused on serving the business community — and still does, offering everything from broadband access to business-class VoIP.

The firm began with DSL and several years later started building its own fiber network. "In 2008, we began deploying the first business-class VoIP on our network," Byington says. "To do business class, we have to control the network."

Electronet runs separate fiber-optic networks for commercial customers and for the healthcare community. "It helps segregate our traffic and improves security and privacy," he says.

In 2005, Byington and a partner started the Big Bend RHIO "as a pro bono effort." He says Electronet has basically incubated and subsidized Big Bend. The non-profit secure patient record-sharing service provides software platforms connecting 65 medical offices and facilities.

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