At 47 Railroad, fiber-optic internet access key to firm's new office

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GREAT BARRINGTON — When you work online, access to high-speed service drives location choices.

That's what led Warrior Trading to choose Great Barrington for a second office. The company teaches people how to trade stocks.

"It 100 percent hinged on good internet — if fiber [optics] wasn't available, we wouldn't have moved," said Ross Cameron, who owns Warrior Trading.

While Spectrum/Charter Communications provides Great Barrington with broadband, high-tech businesses like this say they need speeds provided by fiber connections to compete in the fast-moving digital world.

"I'm a trader, I trade stocks, and even though I'm 150 miles from New York, seconds matter," he said.

There's nothing like day trading for a lesson in what can happen with bad internet.

"If it goes down a lot, it can cost you a lot of money," said Cameron, who started the company in Vermont, then opened the technology office in Sacramento, Calif., where he employs coders and software developers from Silicon Valley.

Cameron and three other tenants will occupy four commercial spaces at 47 Railroad, which also is home to a 13-apartment rental complex at the top of Railroad Street.

The former commercial building was overhauled by Framework Properties. Its developers installed a fiber-optic connection from the state's middle mile network around the corner on Castle Street and contracted with Crocker Communications for a fiber/phone service that is billed monthly and will cost less than $100 per month for tenants.

Framework's Ian Rasch said Cameron wasn't alone in making broadband speeds a priority. One apartment tenant is a voice-over artist, and high-speed service is crucial for his work.

The Great Barrington office will provide products and support to clients who take Cameron's broadcasted courses.

He'll start with four employees, and hopes to expand to 20. Lauren Cameron, his spouse, is the company's director of operations.

The Camerons moved to Alford because they wanted to be near his family in Vermont and hers in New York. But with so much rural area in between, slow internet was a problem.

Cameron said he has been making do with cable-based broadband for years. But sluggish service won't do when broadcasting online to customers.

"Just having fiber is a game changer," Cameron said.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.


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