Dustin Springman is the founder of AgUpLink, a startup bringing network services, including Internet and phone, to rural agricultural communities throughout Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The company was born out of Dustin’s 16 year IT background, and demand for more up to date communications technologies to support modern farming.
The low population density in much of the Deep South keeps most providers from delivering modern services such as VoIP outside of metropolitan areas. “If it was left to the major carriers, there would be no VoIP in these communities,” explained Dustin.
AgUplink implementations involve connecting farms via microwave or fiber or a combination of the two to cloud-based servers where IP PBXs provide full-featured business communications capabilities. Outbound or inbound voice calls are then trunked through Flowroute for connectivity worldwide.
In less than a year, AgUpLink has installed 30 towers in the region and plans to add 200 more. Dustin said their services help farmers monitor crops, conditions and their property while also streamlining costs. “Our customers save a minimum of 20% with our service, and they get much better quality service.”
“In areas where we do have competition, we can beat their pricing with Flowroute,” he said. “Being able to empower our customers with IP PBX functions and Flowroute services at a reasonable rate, we don’t ever have to sell it.
He cited one large business customer – a tractor dealership with five locations – he’s saving $800 to $1,000 per month in toll charges by providing an alternative to dialing over the local telco network.
Based on a recommendation from a mentor, Dustin used Flowroute in a previous position working for the government. When he left to start AgUpLink, Flowroute was the logical choice. “Farms don’t stop running, so the services that help run them can’t either. You can’t beat the reliability, really. And the interface makes everything easy.” He said.
AgUpLink uses Flowroute for all of their own origination and termination, and to connect customers to the telephone network as well. “Flowroute is perfect for our areas. We have confidence that it is going to work. And the price makes so much sense.”
Dustin doesn’t keep secrets from his customers. “A lot of folks in our situation would never let the cat out of the bag in terms of who their service provider is, but we actually carry it as a selling point.”
Typically, once customers have AgUplink and Flowroute services for their business needs, they ask for a residential phone and broadband Internet service.
To Dustin, that’s all the proof he needs that he’s doing the right thing for his community, and his business.