OptimERA started because of need. The inability to get online led Emmett Fitch to found OptimERA in 2005. With friends and a few skills picked up along the way, the crew of OptimERA began a slow climb up the telecom ladder.
They pioneered a VoWiFi platform in Akutan, Alaska after installing a 35-mile microwave link between two islands in the Aleutians. Despite Jester building software platforms from scratch and Emmett backpacking up 140lbs reels of cable to make service happen, a series of events would leave the company financially strapped.
Icicle Seafoods Northern Victor
Beavers Inlet, Unalaska, Alaska
Sedanka Island, Unalaska, Alaska
The key to success is grit. For a few years, everyone involved in the company took second jobs to make ends meet but continued to work on the side to deliver service to their customers. We understood the importance of connection and could not give up.
The goal never changed, we worked hard to get people connected. Ensuring internet access even in a remote community 800 miles by boat or plane from the nearest fiber line was a reality. It took 10 years to see their vision become a reality.
In 2015, Emmett risked everything to relaunch OptimERA. The internet had not changed in Unalaska since 2005, where 256kbps was the best you could get. The entrenched incumbents were not keeping up with the times, leaving a market gap that OptimERA was able to fill. Emmett Fitch, Jester Purtteman, Matt Scott, and Leon Templin launched the OptimERA – Hotspot with 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, rapidly taking over the market.
Today OptimERA is the best service you can get in Unalaska. OptimERA has become an integral part of the community. The core vision hasn’t changed, to make things better. Giving up is not in their vocabulary and the company continues to push the boundaries. The future is full of possibilities for OptimERA.
11m C-Band Earth Station
Interested in what OptimERA is up to? Curious about completed projects? Want a glimpse into future endeavors?
- Founded September 29, 2005
- Spring 2006: Installed Wi-Fi network in Unalaska to provide Hotspot and Broadband Services to residents
- Summer 2006: Installed Icicle Seafoods Northern Victor with Wi-Fi
- Winter 2006: Installed Trident Akutan Processing Facility
- February 2007: Bought Wescom Technical and took over contract for Icicle Seafoods Northern Victor
- June 2007: Installed microwave link from Unalaska to Akutan due to delays in service from satellite provider
- August 2007: Learned that satellite provider installed their own service in Akutan, hence the delay in providing service to OptimERA
- November 2008: Discontinued service in Akutan
- 2009 – 2014: Operated only to provide service for Icicle Seafoods
- 2015: Launched OptimERA – Hotspot in Unalaska
- 2017: Installed 11m satellite earth station in Unalaska
- 2018: Began leasing spectrum from Sprint to build LTE network
- 2019: Built LTE network and began testing
- Summer 2019: Attempted to file for a USDA grant with “ChainLINK Project” which would have served all of Bristol Bay out to Unalaska with next generation technology
- Winter 2019: PenAir plane crashed in Unalaska and first responders began using OptimERA for phone and data service because the other cellular networks crashed during the emergency
- 2020: Covid struck and OptimERA responded with reduced pricing for everyone and free service for students and teachers to finish out the school year
- 2021: Developed the Alaska Tribal Network for the Alaska Tribal Spectrum Organization.