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ARCHIVED  October 1, 1995

FortNet creates new for-profit subsidiary

FORT COLLINS – FortNet, the nonprofit computer-information network that connects Fort Collins-area residents and businesses to the Internet, is adding a commercial subsidiary.

FortNet Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary, offers full-service Internet access, with e-mail, news, World Wide Web and other applications.

“We applied for nonprofit status, but the IRS said that since some of our operations were for-profit, we had to break into two entities,´ said Mike Cullerton, FortNet’s operations manager.

For about a year, FortNet had provided 800 subscribers in Fort Collins, Estes Park and Loveland with full Internet service for $20 per month, and the organization will continue the service, Cullerton said.

“It’s just that we have outgrown the nonprofit structure,” he said. In addition, “Businesses who sign up with us want to market and sell products on the Web, which they can’t do on a nonprofit entity.”

FortNet Communications has added business accounts with home pages to advertise their businesses, although individuals who sign up with the service can have a personal home page for free.

Cullerton emphasizes that FortNet Communications “won’t be different than what we already have – it’s business as usual. It just runs a bit smoother.”

The nonprofit FortNet had been run by volunteers, who will stay on, “but the commercial entity plans to add paid staff who can provide more improved and consistent service,” along with a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week help desk.

FortNet Communications moved to the newly renovated Senior Center on East Mountain Avenue for more space, whereas the nonprofit FortNet remains on Old Town Square.

“We plan to advertise more aggressively and market our product to compete with other Internet service providers in the area,” including Jym Information Systems, KnightWeb and SuperNet, Cullerton said. “It’s like two separate companies, with two boards of directors and separate staff members.”

So they won’t confuse existing or new customers, FortNet still has “one home page, describing both services,” Cullerton notes.

FortNet’s charter remains the same: to make the network accessible to all citizens, provide ongoing awareness, marketing, training and technical support.

People will soon be able to use FortNet at kiosks in the library and other public areas.

“Its structure represents the total community,” Cullerton maintains. “The goal is to have all community-related organizations and meeting information online. It’s the first stop for residents, who can then use it as a starting point for other information on the Web.”

One of the reasons that Cullerton believes the “split” will be successful is that the nonprofit’s mission is to get grants and donations to put city and community information online, “but they don’t want to have to worry about day-to-day operations.”

FORT COLLINS – FortNet, the nonprofit computer-information network that connects Fort Collins-area residents and businesses to the Internet, is adding a commercial subsidiary.

FortNet Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary, offers full-service Internet access, with e-mail, news, World Wide Web and other applications.

“We applied for nonprofit status, but the IRS said that since some of our operations were for-profit, we had to break into two entities,´ said Mike Cullerton, FortNet’s operations manager.

For about a year, FortNet had provided 800 subscribers in Fort Collins, Estes Park and Loveland with full Internet service for $20 per month, and the organization will continue the service,…

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