In 1993 my career took me to Wisconsin Rapids, located almost in the geographic center of the state. At that time, access to the internet was still fairly new and all I had 28kbps dial up access through AOL – and that was a long distance call at 10¢ a minute to Wausau, 60 miles away.
As soon as the local telephone company offered internet access in 1995, I dropped AOL like a hot potato and moved to embrace 56kbps service through a local number!
Yes sir, Wood County Telephone Company was going into the ISP business, and many of us early adopters learned quickly that WCTC was buying clues about that business at a discount. Service was spotty... dead modems were left in the racks... support didn't know what a Mac was... the first suggestion for any problem was to "reinstall your operating system."
But they were better than AOL, and the high-school kids they hired as staff did answer the support lines. Besides, they were THE phone company, and the only game in town, or Wood County for that matter.
Then I discovered a dirty secret... there was another ISP with local access, but for some reason WCTC overlooked listing them in the local phone book. Well after a year or so with WCTC, I moved again... this time to T-NET (http://www.tznet.com) and discovered an extremely professional and competent service provider hidden in Auburndale Wisconsin!
Slowly T-Net started providing DSL service to many of the central Wisconsin communities, and I began the long and patient wait for DSL in Wisconsin Rapids. Yes, cable was available, but I wasn't really happy with the quality of service from Charter for my television, and was in no frame to jump from the quality service of T-Net to ANY other provider. Meanwhile, WCTC started offering DSL. I hadn't burned that bridge (I still needed a telephone) but I was going to be damned if I would go back to of WCTC. T-Net had spoiled me in the quality department!
John Hrusovszky, the owner of T-Net was working on breaking the WCTC monopoly of access in Wood County, and DSL would be available sometime... I remained patient.
While John was trying to get WCTC to admit his DSL services to the Wood County club, WCTC was pondering the infinite nature of decent support – like why were people leaving WCTC for T-Net?
Both problems were solved in one stellar move on WCTC's part... they acquired T-Net, and John and his staff took over management of WCTC's ISP operation.
...and Ben, and Sarah, and the rest of the T-Net staff!
From 1997 until we relocated 160 miles to Hartland in 2004, T-Net was my ISP. Uptime was great, upgrades were proactively made before there was even a hint of capacity issues, and the support was always there. When I started developing web sites, T-Net became my first client's host, and they helped me with services and setup in a professional and expedient manner.
Today I canceled my T-Net account, as all of my office services are now running through my new SBC DSL access. I will miss T-Net... SBC will have to walk on water to match the performance and the professional personal service that continues to be T-Net's primary strength.
Goodbye, John, and thank you again!
Well, "A Farewell to T-Net" may have been the most prophetic title I've ever written. WCTC changed their name to Solarus and shed T-Net's name in the process. Changing your business name seems to be a Wisconsin Rapids pastime.
In late 2006 they made plans to shut down the Auburndale tech office and force-march John's excellent staff to Wisconsin Rapids. That happened in early February, 2007.
What corporations do best: screw up a really good thing. John's no longer involved with the group he built, a true loss to the Cranberry Country of Wisconsin.
(1) The opinions expressed in Marc's Notes: Comments, Ramblings, Rants & Tips are exclusively those of Marc Wolfgram.
(2) Only one Macintosh™ computer was permanently harmed - link. (3) Any references to real people may be intentional.
(4) Don't try certain things while driving or at home without proper adult supervision. (5) Microsoft Windows—Just say NO!
Copyright © 2003-2008 by MacCetera, a Wisconsin LLC owned by Marc & Tammy Wolfgram
Mac OS, Macintosh, and other like terms are all trademarks of Apple, Inc. - 25-Oct-2009