Roll Call Security & Communications plans to revitalize the technology of the Lampasas area, while providing both internet and security services.
Roll-Call operated out of Austin from 2011 to 2016, according to Jeff Jackson, sales and marketing officer for the tech company.
“The CEO Dr. Brandin Lea, moved his family to Lampasas for the same reason many people move from the city to the country — to raise his family,” Jackson said.
Now, Roll-Call is redefining what it means to live in rural areas with regards to security and communications.
“I love Texas, but I don’t want to live in the city — and I know a lot of Texans that feel the same,” Lea said, “I wanted us to figure out the best way to provide metropolitan-area speeds to rural-area Texans. This is how we are going accomplish that.”
As a resident of the Lampasas area, Lea is personally affected by the need for improved technological infrastructure.
“Lampasas is a great community full of great people,” Lea said. “There is no reason we, or anyone else, should not be able to communicate in the modern age because we live in rural areas. We are going to fix this.”
The main competitor to Roll-Call Security is Hyperfusion, which offers similar ISP services, but Roll-Call also has competition from larger internet companies such as AT&T, Spectrum, Suddenlink and CenturyLink, Jackson said.
“We realize that some of the big (communication) companies don’t want to bother with small towns scattered all throughout Texas,” Lea said, “We saw a need and have found the best solution.”
What makes Roll-Call distinct from other internet providers is the provision of dedicated broadband — giving each client an allotted amount of space, depending on their package details, that they will always have open and available for use, Jackson said.
This plan ensures no overlap between clients which prevents buffering, dropped data, and other problems created when a company puts several hundred thousand people on their non-dedicated “high-speed internet” lines, Jackson said.
“On the communications side, we are a high-speed ISP using both line of sight and the newly installed fiber optic cabling,” Jackson said. “We have a variety of packages and options for each client and business to choose from, depending on their individual needs.”
In addition to internet services, which appeal to both individuals and businesses, Roll-Call offers security services.
“We cater primarily to businesses on the security side, simply because they are much more likely to become targets for malicious activity,” Jackson said. “This is not to say we will not work with individuals concerned with their own cyber security, but a majority of our tools are geared for groups of two to several thousand.”
The company’s “Cyber Security as A Solution” allows Roll-Call to tailor an approach to provide security for an entire organization, Jackson said. This includes user training, security and network implementation and monitoring, periodic reporting based on the clients needs, and a plethora of individually tailored tools, software, and skills to ensure each client feels like they are our most important client, he said.
Because of Lea’s military background, the company tends to focus on veterans in the company and within the community, Jackson said.
“We are still near Fort Hood, yet rural enough to raise a family,” Jackson said. “Lea and his partners decided Lampasas was the perfect climate to run and operate a cyber security company due to its secluded nature and close access to higher education and the Army Futures Command (headquartered in Austin).”
The owners quickly realized that the communications infrastructure was severely lacking, Jackson said, so they decided to do something about it.
“We need to update these communication lines. Most of the lines are well over 50 years old,” Lea said in reference to the copper wire cables that currently route all analog and digital traffic through the Central Texas region. Since 2010, there have been several incidences where digital and analog communications throughout the region have shut down or have been knocked out completely, up to and including emergency 911 services, according to a news release from Roll-Call.
Lea’s plan calls for a main trunk of fiber optic cable to be run north through Lampasas along U.S. Highway 183 and Key Avenue, with additional branches running throughout town on East and West laterals.
The current plan calls for stopping the main fiber run at the airport, according to their news release. Ultimately, the goal is for every customer, family, and business to be able to connect directly into the fiber optic lines, thus utilizing the speed of light for internet connectivity, the news release said.
The company intends to lay fiber optic cable within the Lampasas city limits — with the option to expand in the future, Jackson said.
“For the surrounding county area which includes Burnet County and Coryell County, we use Line of Sight (LOS),” Jackson said. “This is primarily due to the low population density and rural nature. The speeds however are comparable to fiber.”
The final phase of the current project scheduled to begin no later than November of this year, would be completed by Christmas, according to the news release.
“The demand is already here,” Lea said. “I get calls every single day ... it seems like we have half the city on a waiting list and can’t get things off the ground fast enough. I just ask everyone to be patient and let them know that we will get everything up and going as soon as possible.”
Only a tiny fraction of this venture involves the FCC infrastructure initiative or USDA rural broadband initiative, Jackson said. With the bulk of their expansion funded by the company itself, Roll-Call has plans to continue expanding the technological infrastructure as the client base continues to grow, he said.
“We hope that with continued expert service and satisfied clients, our business will expand as rapidly as we can accommodate for,” Jackson said.
But there are some barriers to their expansion, he added.
“There exists a significant skills gap in cyber and IT in Central Texas,” Jackson said. “This was the primary reason for Roll-Call’s chief cyber strategy officer to begin opening a cyber and IT security academy in Lampasas as well.”
Roll-Call will need to fill anywhere from 100 to 500 positions in the next three years.
Most do not even require a degree, Jackson said, but they do require specific certifications, background checks, security clearances and work history.
“This makes veterans prime targets for employment,” Jackson said.
The company is continually looking for opportunities to grow their brand and ensure they are providing the most affordable security and comprehensive IT solutions on the market without sacrificing quality, Jackson said.
“We expect our internet service to continue to grow as technology advances and rural citizens no longer feel they have to suffer the substandard quality of communication services which currently exist,” Jackson said.
Although the Roll-Call team is made up of some of the most highly trained cyber security experts in the industry, technology itself, when used by those with malicious intent, is always a hurdle to be constantly contended with, Jackson said. Small-town governments can also present significant roadblocks when they have agendas that do not mesh with citizens or the private business sector, Jackson said.
“We have to stay on top of the game on a daily basis, lest the ‘bad guys’ create something new that we are not abreast of,” Jackson said. “We have even been targeted recently here in Lampasas, with the rash of skimmers being installed on gas pumps all over the county; this is but small example of the types of investigations we perform.”
As the company expands, it would like to become better acquainted with the community, Jackson said.
“If you see any Roll-Call team members around town, please say hello,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t have to be internet or cyber related, but we always want to better know our community and its member in order to better provide the services and products they feel they need.”