VPR.net has a rather odd story detailing the confusion in Vermont over GAW High Speed Internet, also known as Great Auk Wireless. GAW currently has two thousand Vermont subscribers. Lately, Vermont has been receiving a significant amount of complaints from GAW subscribers over system outages and lost email service.
One town’s water department uses GAW as their internet provider and continue having email issues with no help in sight. It has gotten so bad that the city is using an old dial up system for email. On top of that, GAW is $1,400 dollars behind in its payments to the town. To make matters worse, when customers call GAW to complain, they are given “alternative service providers” but are not being told to outright leave.
So, Vermont officials decided to call GAW’s owner. Except, they couldn’t find anyone in the company who actually is the owner.
“We have been in touch with several people who we believe have an ownership interest, but we’re not entirely sure who does own the company right now.” – Jim Porter, Vermont Director of Telecommunications
As VPR.net found out, two local students founded the company in 2005. One of them, Josh Garza, is listed as the CEO on the companies website. But Vermont officials aren’t sure if Garza is even involved with the company anymore due to a current investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to a digital currency company he started.
Customers in the Brattleboro region say representatives for Great Auk Wireless are not picking up the phone to field customer complaints, and the owner of the company may have fled the United States to avoid an investigation. – Reformer
Vermont’s Attorney General is also trying to talk to GAW’s owner. Two years ago, GAW received $18,018 in grant money from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority to extend service to customers in one county. It never occurred.
“This office has had some difficulty finding an individual who would be authorized and willing to address the state’s demand.” – Jacob Humbert, Assistant Attorney General
Vermont’s AG office tried calling all the numbers on the web-site, visiting the so-called “home” address of the company in Connecticut and even talked to customer reps on the phone. They found nothing. The people answering customer support inquiries aren’t even employees of GAW, rather independent contractors.