30 Aug SupraNet marks off 10 years as an Internet service provider
MADISON — Flash back to 1994, when the Web was still newfangled and household broadband was a pipe dream. That’s when SupraNet set up shop in Madison as an Internet service provider, with one client. This September the company is celebrating its 10th anniversary, boasting 350 clients and a debt-free balance sheet.
While national ISPs loom large and Web hosting is about as easy to come by as chocolate bars — and varies just as much in quality — SupraNet concentrates on staying local and growing steadily.
“We are all very proud of where our company is today”, said Bryan Chan, SupraNet’s chief executive. “SupraNet has thrived where many ISPs have struggled.”
The company makes much of maintaining the responsiveness associated with small companies that don’t have the luxury of extra customers. Chan attributes its sucess to customer loyalty.
Among its clients is the State Bar of Wisconsin, which co-locates its Web server at the ISP’s facility as well as purchasing its Internet connection through SupraNet.
“They’ve got a superb uptime record. We have had very, very few interruptions of service,” said Gene Gosewehr, the Bar’s IT director. And when the Bar’s network equipment goes down, he said, SupraNet will often step in and offer temporary replacements until it’s fixed.
Kramer Printing has been with SupraNet since earlier this year, also buying both connectivity and Web hosting. Karen Hromadka, a Web designer and developer with the firm, said SupraNet’s main draw was its responsiveness.
“The Internet service provier we had was very bad with technical help … [now] we call and we get an answer right away,” she said.
SupraNet has cast itself as a full-service firm, providing technical consulting to its clients as well as basic services. Gosewehr said it even helped the Bar with some technical improvements that lowered their overall hosting costs. Cost is also one of the things that drew the Bar away from Berbee to SupraNet about four years ago, he said.
For its part, SupraNet has concentrated on stable financial growth, reinvesting profits in equipment such as a third OC-12 network connection (an optical line capable of transferring more than 70 megabytes per second). The company reports an average 17 percent growth rate since 2000.
Combined with its support service, that reliability is important for the State Bar’s Web site, which has to serve 20,000 lawyers.
“They have very little patience for technical things that don’t work,” Gosewehr said.