Welcome to the new world of camping, where Internet access is almost as
important as having enough firewood.
“It used to be that when campers would make reservations at an RV park, they
would ask if the park had water, electricity and sewer,” said Kelly Hogan, CEO of Boise, Idaho-based NomadISP. “But today it’s water, electricity, sewer and Wi-Fi.”
For Nomad, the call for the Internet in the wild has meant big money. Four years ago, it was one of the first companies to bring the Internet to RV parks and campgrounds. Now, having installed wireless Internet access in more than 300 parks, according to the Idaho Statesman, Nomad is on track to collect more than $1.2 million this year in revenue. “One of my interns summed it up best when he said, ‘It’s really cool. You can be in the woods and surfing the Web,’” Hogan said.
Nomad employs 12 people at its Boise headquarters and is now one of the top companies that RV park and campground owners turn to when they want to bring the Internet to campers and is a preferred provider of Internet access at KOA Kampgrounds of America.
“From our standpoint, it has gotten to the point from not just being nice to have but necessary to have at our RV parks,” said Daniel Freedman, an owner of the Hi Valley RV Park in Boise and Ambassador RV Park in Caldwell, Idaho. NomadISP’s first installation was in 2002 at Hi Valley.
Since NomadISP sold its first product, its customer base has increased 10-fold, and Hogan sees more growth ahead. He estimates that only about 18% of the RV parks and campgrounds in the U.S. are now connected to the Internet, and Nomad dominates 40% of that market.
A park with 100 to 150 sites spends $3,200 to $4,500 for equipment and pays $100 to $200 a month for service. That price can go up dramatically in larger parks. A 350-acre park in New Hampshire spent $25,000 on equipment, Hogan said.