JayJay's Story In 1983, I saw my first home computer ... a Commodore VIC 20 that my brother-in-law had purchased. I was amazed ... really was fun typing in those basic programs and then playing GAMES with 3K (yes, K) of ram. In early 1985 when the Commodore Plus/4 came out, we purchased one. Along with the Plus/4 came a free introductory subscription to Compuserve, as well as a 300 baud modem. I signed on that evening to Compuserve and from the moment I saw those words coming across the screen via the phone lines, I was hooked! I thought it would be really, really neat if I could make my computer work in that same fasion, where people would call it up and receive my programming on their screen. I looked around all over in order to find Software which could accomplish that for me on the Plus/4 - no luck. So I decided to sit down one evening and learn to program in order to author my own BBS software. In a few weeks, we were beta testing ... my brother-in-law would call with his (then) new Commodore 64, and I would troubleshoot my code while he was online ... I actually had a full-blown BBS running in approximately a months time. From there, I purchased a Commodore 128 and had a fantastic time with all the software that I could purchase for both the C128 and the built-in C64 that it contained. I also ran a BBS on the C64 end of the Commodore for quite some time as I learned on the IBM. In the Spring of 1988, The Twilight Zone BBS went 'live' with an IBM 286 clone from Swan Technologies with 640K of memory, a 20 meg Hard Drive and a 2400 baud modem. I ran RBBS software. Approximately a year or so later, I purchased and installed Quarterdeck's DesqView Multitasking software and added a second line to the BBS. By this time, I also had 2 US Robotics Courier HST modems (14.4K) for High-Speed callers. Sometime in 1990, I decided in order to get the BBS to grow, it needed both a Sponsor and more powerful software, not to mention more phone lines. Being a member of the CWCS, (Central Wisconsin Computer Socitey), I asked them if they were interested in Sponsoring the Bulletin Board Service. They were, so in exchange for the use of the BBS for club business and promotion, they presented me with Artisoft's LANtastic/AI v4.1 to network the system. I also purchased a 386DX-33 and a 330 Meg SCSI Hard Drive for the growing file section. I installed LANtastic/AI and became acquainted with the operations of a LAN with my simple new peer-to-peer style network. Once I felt comfortable with the LAN, I decided it was time to grow and take the next step ... I purchased 4 more 386DX-40s and turned the original BBS machine into a dedicated file server with LANtastic/AI, installed 2 1.2 Gb hard drives, and used the new 386s for Workstations, each one running a single phone line for the BBS. I also utilized all USR Courier 28.8K modems at that time as well. In January of 1993, I purchased a subscription with Planet Connect, a satellite-delivery method of FIDOnet Conferences and thousands of shareware files. I hooked up a new machine to the satellite feed and transported the newly-acquired files and conferences onto the File Server once a day so callers always had a ton of new files and conferences to use. We also put USA TODAY(r) online for the callers to read each morning. Interest in the BBS service continued to grow, and in April of 1993, The Twilight Zone BBS system was chosen from over 50,000 BBSs in the world as one of only 7 ASP HUB BBSs! WorldWide Recognition! Obviously, the feeling when I was notified that The Twilight Zone BBS was one of the chosen 7 is unexplainable. We began receiving callers from all over the world and subscriptions from people as far away as Portugal, Italy, and other countries. By 1995, I knew that we were in dire need of more telephone lines, and we also needed to take the BBS one step further -- full Internet Connectivity. I did a ton of research into which was the Best BBS software for us to go with, which method of Internet Connectivity would best suit us, etc. In May of 1995, we decided upon eSoft's TBBS for the BBS Software because of its tremendous versatility and excellent company support. We put the operating system on a single 486DX2-66 with 8 dial-in phone lines and the users really seemed to like the change and added new features. In June of 1995, we purchased eSoft's IPAD, formed a corporation, and began testing the internet capabilities. We performed countless hours of testing to ensure our subscribers would have the fastest, easiest to use, and most versatile internet service available to them. We went "live" on October 1st of 1995 with 8 phone lines into our internet service and added 8 telnet lines into and out of the BBS service. In just a few short weeks we realized that we needed more phone lines for the internet system, so we added another 8 lines, bringing the total to 16. To our amazement, in another short month, we required even more internet lines, so we added another 16 lines to the IPADs terminal server, bringing the total to 32. In January of 1996 we put up our Web Server for the Internet Service and began offering FREE PERSONAL WEB PAGES to our Flat Rate (unlimited) subscribers. We utilized MICROSOFT'S' Windows/NT Server v3.51 and Quarterdeck's WebServer software. Unfortunately, we felt that WebServer wasn't fast enough nor would accomodate enough simultaneous web "hits" so we purchased O'Reilly's WebSite, a Fantastic Web Server for NT. In March of 1996, we saw that we needed even more growth, so we purchased the 32-line version of TBBS for the Bulletin Board Service, and added 16 more Telnet lines into and out of the BBS, along with 2 more gigs of Hard Drives for the new files that come in on a daily basis. In November of 1996, we added a live UPI NewsFeed into the BBS for callers to get immediate newsfeeds from all over the world. At the end of 1996, the T-Zone BBS had 10 Dial-in Lines and 22 Telnet in/out lines. T-Net's Internet Service had 144 Dial-in lines. By the end of 1997, the T-Zone BBS had 14 Dial-in Lines,and 32 Telnet in/out lines. T-Net's Internet Service had 250 Dial-in Lines, and local connectivity in Marshfield, Spencer and Wisconsin Rapids. Growth continued ... and at the end of 1998, T-Net's Internet Service was up to 800+ lines, the vast majority of them being X2/v.90 56K lines. We became multi-homed with multiple backbone feeds to ensure the best service for our customers and to minimize the possibility of downtime. We were hooked into the backbones of MCI (now Cable & Wireless), UUNet, and Norlight. We also installed a local system in Stevens Point for Internet callers. By the end of 1999, T-Net had 1400+ phone lines and growth was still snowballing. At the end of 2000, T-Net had 1900+ phone lines, growth is still ongoing, and we began offering DSL services in the Marshfield and Wisconsin Rapids areas. In Mid 2001, we added Nationwide Connectivity. We also have upgraded our backbone feeds to Dual DS3s from 2 separate Tier 1 Backbone Providers to ensure top-of-the-line quality for our customers. We built a 24x7 Call Center manned by professional technicians to help any of our customers with internet-related problems 24 hours a day. We also installed a 35,000 watt generator to ensure we can never lose power for our equipment at our headquarters, again, to ensure our customers receive the best possible service available. We know of no other ISP that does what T-Net does for its customers!
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