Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, May 10, 1999

Local Link buys Central Minnesota Gateway

Central Minnesota Gateway (CMG), the local Internet service provider for Howard Lake, Cokato, and Dassel telephone exchanges, has been purchased by Local Link USA.

Local Link, one of the largest regional Internet service providers in Minnesota, has been CMG's "upstream" provider.

Headquart-ered in Owatonna, the company serves 5,000 subscribers in southern and central Minnesota, including Hutchinson, Glencoe, Silver Lake, and Minneapolis.

Local Link will benefit local subscribers, CMG system operator Paul Scivetti, reported, by providing expanded tech support hours, local Internet access in all of Local Link's markets, personal Web page storage, and faster user logins and e-mail.

CMG began providing local Internet access in April 1996 from a back room of the EnterpriseDispatch office in Cokato.

It has doubled in size every year, and now has more than 1,000 subscribers.

Scivetti, a part-owner of CMG together with his wife, Marie, and Dan and Carolyn Holje, noted that CMG was originally intended to be a part-time business. The Scivettis and Holjes, who both own other businesses, started CMG because this area was considered "too small" and "too rural" to attract other ISPs.

"As residents of this community (all of us live in Dassel), we knew Internet would be a great benefit to this community, but the key to success was support and service," said Scivetti.

CMG now serves approximately one quarter of all households and businesses in the Cokato-Dassel-Howard Lake area. It has become too large for the two couples to manage without adversely impacting their other businesses and their health.

"Obviously, this is not good for us and we feel this is ultimately a disservice to our subscribers," said Scivetti.

The Holjes and Scivettis wanted to find a buyer that shared their vision of Internet for small communities. They believe Local Link is that company. Because CMG already gets service through Local Link, customers should experience minimal disruptions during the transition.

"Other than having Local Link personnel answer the phone, CMG subscribers will not notice any changes immediately," said Scivetti. "Donny Smith, the president of Local Link, and myself are both firmly committed to minimizing service disruptions during this transition."

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