Virginia Air Networks hopes Strasburg tower is just the beginning

The Strasburg Town Council will be voting Tuesday on whether or not they will allow the installation of a telecommunications tower at 458 Radio Station Road. For Joseph Jones and Darin Hockman, co-founders of Virginia Air Networks, Inc., which is the company behind the tower, installing a tower in Strasburg is one among a laundry list of items aimed at forming a Virginia-wide internet company.

According to Hockman, who lives in Middletown, plans to start Virginia Air Networks came about two years ago because he and Jones were having trouble with their internet. Those problems led to discussions between the two about broader problems with internet in the area.

Hockman is a businessman–he has owned the Papermill Place in Winchester for 17 years — so when he couldn’t find a provider that he liked, he went to Jones and offered up an entrepreneurial solution.

“I said, ‘Let’s start up something,'” Hockman said.

In the past six months, Hockman said, the two have been working on planning to get the company up and running. Virginia Air Networks has been officially registered as a company since June, according to articles of incorporation filed with the state.

Hockman said that he would be working the business side of the company.

Jones, meanwhile, has more experience doing technical work. The owner of 1st Preferred Technologies, LLC, a Winchester-based technology consulting company, Jones said he has done similar jobs for clients.

Jones has created “a simple small network where it would be from one building to another,” Jones said. “[Virginia Air Networks is] the same principle, but it would be on a bigger scale.”

In fact, Jones and Hockman first met because Hockman hired Jones to do computer work.

“Since then, we’ve sort of been doing things together and now we’re teamed up as a partnership,” Hockman said.

Jones designed the website and does computer repair work for the Papermill Restaurant, Hockman said.

Jones said that he hopes to see the telecommunications tower installed around two weeks after the Town Council approves it. Assuming the Town Council votes in favor of building the tower, Jones hopes to start providing service to the public  in mid-October.

Then, he hopes to see the company grow substantially.

“We’re not really stopping in the (Shenandoah) Valley,” Jones said. “We’re hoping to go statewide eventually.”

Hockman echoed Jones and said that the company is already working on getting two other towers installed, one at a mountain in Shenandoah County and one on a mountain in Frederick County.

“We have a couple of towers that we’re in the process of getting,” Hockman said. “And then the next thing we’re going to be hitting toward is Frederick County.”