By Tim Landis – Business Editor
A Springfield company founded during the dial-up boom of the 1990s has left the internet business.
Springnet1 sold its internet service to Rise Broadband this month in order to concentrate on internet-based phone systems for businesses, Springnet1 co-founder Neal Miller said on Monday. In addition to Springtel business communications, Springnet1 remains in email service, web design and hosting, technical services and data-backup systems.
“It includes our wireless, DSL (digital subscriber line) and, believe it or not, we still had some dial-up customers,” Miller said. “We believe it was the right time for everybody. It was the right time for us and the right time for our customers.”
He declined to specify how many customers have moved to Rise Broadband.
Miller said three Springnet1 employees joined Rise Broadband, while one has remained at the Springnet1 headquarters in the Piper Glen subdivision on Illinois 4 between Springfield and Chatham.
The demand for ever-faster broadband speeds has made it difficult for smaller providers to keep pace, Miller said.
“Rise has much bigger resources to keep up with that demand,” he said.
Miller and co-founder Anthony Hopp opened Springnet1 in a converted home on South Grand Avenue at the height of the dial-up boom in 1995. The company relocated to Piper Glen in 2005. Springtel, online at Springtel.net, is a cloud-based phone service, said Miller, that provides a range of customized calling and system-maintenance features for companies.
“We really want to focus on Springtel,” Miller said. “It’s growing nicely, and we think it can grow much faster.”
Rise Broadband, based in Denver, provides wireless internet and digital phone services to nearly 200,000 residential and business customers in 16 states, including Illinois according to the company website, risebroadband.com. Rise announced earlier this month the addition of Dish TV satellite service.
Spokesman Richard Abels said the company planned to upgrade over the next six months to speeds of 50 megabytes per second in the Springfield region. He said former Springnet1 customers would be moved to Rise pricing plans as upgrades are made. Basic residential internet service at Rise Broadband ranges from $42 to $62 per month.
Internet service through Springnet1 had ranged from $14.95 per month for dial-up to $125 per month for broadband, according to the company website, Springnet1.com.
“Springnet1 is a great fit to the Rise coverage area,” Abels said. “Rise’s focus has been rural, suburban areas that often have been underserved.”