The Pendleton-based Internet provider Wtechlink has been busy expanding its services and customer base.

Byron Wysocki and Jordan McDonald, the techie duo behind Wtechlink, said the company now supports about 750 customers, adding about 250 during the last year. Much of that has come from providing Internet access to Pilot Rock in one direction and out toward Adams and Helix in the other.

Further, Wtechlink has been working with Blue Mountain Community College and with the Pendleton School District to provide faster, more affordable Internet service to Pendleton schools.

Wysocki explained the school district faced a choice in how to provide better Internet service. Laying thousands of feet of fiber optics would have been inordinately expensive, and having a phone company put in more T-1 lines would have taken at least a month.

Wtechlink was able to provide the service the district needed in just a few days. They also helped Pendleton Family Medical to use its e-records health system between its offices in Pilot Rock and Pendleton. And Wtechlink is in early talks with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation to provide service there.

And even though the pair are still in their early 20s, they understand the difficulties of providing fast, reliable Internet service to locals.

"The last mile is always the struggle," Wysocki said.

He explained that piping Internet access to a central location in Pendleton isn't the problem. Rather, the difficulties arise in piping it from that central location to homes and classrooms and businesses.

But the men relish finding ways of doing just that.

Case in point, they worked with Tom Sutherland in Pilot Rock to provide service for just a few households living in a valley near McKay Creek.

Sutherland convinced his neighbors to sign on to what amounted to a local improvement district to build a wireless tower. Wtechlink provided their labor and expertise at cost.

Clearly, Wysocki and McDonald enjoy working with customers and providing solutions, especially to rural residents.

That combination of a can-do attitude and technical ingenuity is making Wtechlink a local success.

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