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From The Telegraph to The Internet: How the Wells Building Became So Connected

Posted by Natalie Steinwand on July 9, 2020
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We love talking about how the Wells Building is one of the most connected buildings in Milwaukee. Through a partnership with our internet service provider, Ruckus Wireless, we are able to offer free Wi-Fi our tenants. Thanks to our downtown Milwaukee location, our tenants can take advantage of a wide array of internet providers to allow for some of the fastest and most reliable connections in town. Considering our building’s history, it’s no wonder we are so connected.

The Wells Building telecommunications history goes back more than a century. At the time of its construction in 1901, telegraph wires followed, or ran parallel to, railroad routes. By 1910, as telegraph wires eventually moved indoors, Western Union established its Milwaukee headquarters in the Wells Building. The company quickly installed cabling throughout the building for their telegraph service, creating the first communications hub in the city. This is very similar to the famous 60 Hudson Street building in New York City, also home to Western Union in it’s day.

From the beginning, telegraph wires complemented railroad lines. Over the years, the telegraph facilitated the advent of telephone lines, which in turn helped the rise of the Internet. Due to these established routes, telephone companies like Wisconsin Telephone Co., now owned by AT&T, established themselves close to the Wells Building to take advantage. This made the Wells Building part of the of the original communications hub of Milwaukee, a legacy that still stands today.

While Western Union moved out of the building in 1985, some of the old copper wire remains. Currently, the Wells Building acts as a carrier hotel to over 30 voice and data carriers, including AT&T, Time Warner, and Verizon, making it the most connected building in Wisconsin. Thousands of feet of fiber optic lines, network cabling, wiring and other equipment snake throughout the building, taking up nearly 25,000 square feet worth of space.

With the emphasis of providing cloud-based services, today’s businesses look for carrier hotels closest to the best connection. Most of these businesses are pleasantly surprised to find a classic building with such high speed bandwidth capabilities. Complimenting this is a newly renovated heating and cooling system able to handle the demands of modern data centers. With its commitment to customizing space to meet their tenant’s needs and as a communications hub, the Wells Building makes the perfect partner for your co-location needs.


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