Welcome to Rangenet Internet Services,
Now for a little history as to how the Internet and John "Guba" Gobats
got to where we are today:
1962 - John Licklider, a scientist at MIT, publishes a
memorandum outlining a "Galactic Network" which is a globally interconnected
set of computers to provide access to data and programs from anywhere
in the world! Whew! can you believe it - 1962.
1967 - Rangenet's owner, John "Guba" Gobats, enters the
computer industry. This is after coming out of college where he leaned
a lot about the "high tech" Slide Rule. The word computer was never
even mentioned in the entire time he was in College!
1968 - Packet-switched networks appear. Most are
used internally with in high tech companies. July 1968 John Gobats,
Rangenet's owner, enters the Computer Industry.
1969 - ARPAnet appears. This is the first External
Internet connection it had 4 Computers (hosts) on it.
1971 - Although email was used "in house" none could
be sent out externally. This year ARPAnets Ray Tomlinson sends the
first email message "testing 1-2-3" to another external computer on the
1977 - ARPAnet now has 100 computers (hosts) on it.
A lot of the high tech companies in the US have a connection to this network.
John Gobats has a "dumb" terminal in his house with a 300bps modem on it.
1979 - Usenet is established (these are called News Groups
today). Actually, prior to this, but not well documented, many
"hackers" provided "access" to bulletin boards etc. where one could see
what movies were playing and even could order Air Line Tickets! Modems
at this time are 150-300bps, yes that's One Hundred Fifty! By this
time there are PC's available and already people like John Gobats are using
1983 - The term "internet" is coined and TCP/IP (Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) becomes the standard Internet Protocol.
Proir to this TCP/IP was around but and being used, it was just not standardized.
By this time "high tech" companies are using email as a standard communications
interface. Trouble was trying to get management to buy into it!
John Gobats has a PC at home, it's a home built one from a kit.
1984 - Domain Name Servers (DNS) are introduced.
There are now 1000 computers (hosts) on the internet! And you thought
the Internet just started. By this time "high tech" companies are
moving files back and forth and sending/receiving email big time.
Modems are high speed now some are 9600bps! Wow we're traveling!
Most modems in use are 300-1200bps though.
You could actually "view" what are called "Web Pages" today on the internet!
1986 - John Gobats has a new PC at home, it's a 286 8mhz!
Boy were they expensive back then. This is a commercial one made
by Zenith. Hmm, what ever happened to them?
1987 - Hold on here - the Internet has 10,000 hosts (computers).
Yes, that's Ten Thousand! The Internet is really singing along now.
1988 - One year later the Internet has 60,000 hosts on
it. And guess what? The term "Internet Worm" is coined. This
later gets broken down into "worms and viruses". This year the Internet
experiences its for Worm/Virus and about 6,000 of the 60,000 computer
on the Internet get temporarily "disabled"! Hmm someone has to come
up with an inoculation for these! John Gobats has a new PC at home,
it's a 386 16mhz Zenith.
1989 - The Internet has 100,000 hosts on it! By
the way (BTW) each host has many computers interfaced to it.
1990 - Tim Berners-Lee develops HTML (Hyper Text Markup
Language) and the World Wide Web (WWW). The original Internet Highway,
ARPAnet(Government Funded and Free), shuts down and the Internet enters
a commercialization phase. The Internet now has 300,000 Hosts on it
(up from 100,000 the year before). ARCHIE, the first Internet
Search Engine (Browser) is developed at McGill University in Montreal.
Man was this slick! One can actually find 14,400bps modems on the
street! However, most are still the 300bps and 9,600 types.
1991 - The National Science Foundation (NFS) lifts the
ban on commercial network traffic over the Internet, opening the door for
the electronic-commerce explosion. And boy did it explode!
1992 - The Internet has 1,000,000 hosts and 50 Web sites
worldwide! Today, Rangenet alone hosts about 120 web sites, twice
what was available world wide in 1992. A short 7 years ago.
IP multicast is implemented for the first time and the phrase "surfing
the Internet" is coined by Jean Armour Polly!
1993 - And away we go! Mark Andreesen from the National
Center for Supercomputing Applications launches the Internet Browser Mosaic
X that ran on most major brand computers.
1994 - The Internet has 3,200,000 hosts and 3,000 web
sites! HTML Ver 2 is released and Pizza Hut takes the first order
for pizza via the Internet, a mushroom and pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.
June 1994 John Gobats leaves the Computer Industry and moves from Minneapolis/St.
Paul to his cabin (shack) on Beautiful Lake Vermilion. He says he
is "retiring". Ya right! John spends rest of 1994 working with
companies and helping friends with computers. He also has Internet
Services from his cabin, long distance to The Cities. At this time
John owns a 386 40mhz computer with a 1 gigabyte SCSI hard drive, 32
megs of Ram and a 14,400bps modem. John also has a Laptop
486, 16megs RAM, 200 meg hard drive and a PCMCIA 9600bps modem in it.
In November of 1994 John mass mails 400 letters to most businesses and
government agencies telling them that he is available to start working
on their Year 2000 problems (Y2K). John never receives one response back
from those mailings. Hmm who in the heck cares about the Y2K problem.
John starts building WEB pages but can't "sell" anyone on them.
1995 - 25,000 Web sites exist on the Internet and Domain
Name Registration is no longer free. Sun Microsystems unveils JAVA to the
world. CompuServe, AOL and Prodigy begin providing Internet access
and eBay is launched. John Gobats starts designing an Internet Service
for the Iron Range. Rangenet Computer Services becomes a sole
proprietor company. John starts the "Internet" tune on the Range,
however very few listen. John meets Garry Hoghkirk and his girlfriend,
Jana, in Ely. Gary, Jana and John start marching the Internet tune.
Garry creates a web page for the Ely winter carnival. Gary and John
start talks with Joe Prebonich from the Italian Bakery in Virginia about
selling Potica on the Internet. Joe Prebonich coins the words "Cyber
1" and "Cyber 2" referring to John and Garry. All you hear out of
Garry, Jana and John's mouths are "Internet" and "web pages". In November,
John, Jana & Gary with the help of a few Internet citizens from Ely,
invite the IRRRB, some state Reps, and the University of Minnesota to an
Internet presentation at the College in Ely. There we have a 17"
monitor on a computer, connected to the Internet and "show" the range what
the Internet is all about and what electronic-commerce could do for this
area. We also ask the IRRRB for $15,000 in funding to help create
local Internet services in Ely. No interest, the request gets turned
down by the IRRRB! We all walk away dumb founded. In that presentation
we laid down a scenario where by the Iron Range could become the Electronic
Commerce Capital of the World. It's there for the taking! Guess it
was too soon. Garry and John, disappointed, continue their trek. They
meet with the IRRRB in December at Giant's Ridge and again demonstrate how the Internet could help all
the IRRRB entities like Giant's Ridge, Iron World and even the IRRRB offices
in Eveleth. Opps, still too early! John and Garry start talking
about how to fund a local Internet service themselves.
1996 - The Internet has 10,000,000 hosts, HTML Ver 3.2
is out and the first inklings of XML appear. Garry Hoghkirk
puts Joe Prebonichs www.potica.com web page on the Internet. Joe becomes
the very first person in this area to have a web page. Joe starts
selling potica on the Internet! John completes his Internet
design. Garry is busy doing Web pages. John gets initial funding
for an Internet company from Queen City Federal and makes the decision
to "do it on his own" in the Virginia area. John officially opens
Rangenet Computer Services on March 23rd 1996. Rangenet becomes the
very first, locally owned and operated Internet company in the Range area.
Advertisements are out in the papers etc. but the service does not officially
open till May. John hires Tom Hodge from the Virginia Library system
to assist in the opening of Rangenet. Rangenet signs up its first
customer on May 1, 1996 - David Allen from Virginia! John Sells
his house in the Twin Cities and uses the money to help keep Rangenet solvent.
In the first month Rangenet signs up 27 customers, 5 of which are businesses.
All this with 4 modems and a 56K dedicated line to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
On August 1st Rangenet installs a T1 line to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
John meets Joe Durbin in July. Joe is 18 and just graduated from
High School Late 1996 Joe Durbin starts doing little jobs for Rangenet.
Rangenet closes out 1996 with 228 customers! Wow hey! Rangenet
is open in HoytLakes, Orr, Chisholm and Hibbing areas.
The Duluth News Tribune does a front page news spread on Rangenet. Yes
the Front page!
Internet Commerce Mining has just started on the Iron Range!!!
1997 - The Internet has 19,500,000 hosts and 1,200,000
web sites. Joe Durbin does several web pages for customers on his
own and starts helping with Internet Installs and with some System Administration.
Joe buys a car in late 1997 and starts driving to houses doing hookups.
Rangenet runs out of telephone lines at its current location and moves
across Chestnut street in August.
Rangenet adds its RANGNENET RECIPE section to its home page along with
RANGENET CLASSIFIED ADS where one can post an add for FREE!
In January, Rangenet demonstrates "state of the art" internet access by
sending an email from an Ice house on Lake Vermilion. Rangenet uses a laptop
computer with a cellular modem in it to make the connection. Oh boy, right here
on the Iron Range! Rangenet closes out the year with
1998 - The Internet has 36,800,00 hosts and 4,200,000
web sites. AOL buys Netscape for 4.2 billion. HTML Ver 4.0
is out. Joe Durbin comes on board full time with a salary and Rangenet
hires Shelley Gobats part time to help with all the Internet activity.
Rangenet Installs a working copy of WEB BASED EMAIL on its Internet Site.
Its called WEB EMAIL. To our knowledge no other provider has this service. It
allows one to check their email from any internet connection any place in the world!
In June Rangenet puts in 56K digital lines, way ahead of most of the
world and gets 56K Compliance. Rangenet abandons the computer sales,
service and consulting business and concentrates fully on the Internet
Business which is exploding. Rangenet closes out 1998 with 1591 customers.
1999 - Prediction is that 7.8 billion dollars worth of
business will be done on the Internet this year going to 108 billion in
The Melissa virus appears crippling businesses everywhere bringing
into light the total awareness of Internet viruses. The Happy 99 virus
infects a ton of personal computers. Rangenet opens up in Ely,
Babbitt, The Keewatin/Nashwauk, Duluth areas. Rangenet incorporates as
of Aug 1st and changes its name from Rangenet Computer Services to Rangenet
Internet Services, Inc. On Dec 9th Rangenet, once again, moves its Internet
Services to another building, the Pioneer Building off of
Chestnut street. This is Rangenet's 3rd building now in 4 years!
Rangenet installs 4 new DSL direct lines to business customers.
Rangenet is all set up to install DSL in ELY Minnesota. It fails because
the phone company there will not sell Rangenet "dry copper" which is a neccessity
to DSL. The phone (GTE) company has figured out what Rangenet is doing with the lines
and won't sell us "dry copper" to do our business.
Rangenet closes out 1999 with 2871 customers, Whew!
2000 - Rangenet hires 2 new telephone support employees-
Tim Wilson & Matt Beckwell, who now take all sales and support calls.
Rangenet installs a T1 line (1,544,000 bps (B)its (P)er (S)econd) from
Virginia to Babbitt, pulls out the old 56,000bps line there.
By the end of Feb 2000 Rangenet has a total of 7 DSL customers hooked up on direct "high speed" lines.
Rangenet has a "wireless link" between Babbitt and Ely Minnesota. Funded entirely
by Rangenet. The IRRRB is more interested in helping fund Fiber and is of no help to
the "wireless land". Rangenet is the only company in this area investing in Wireless and
Rangenet closes 2000 with 4,026 customers.
2001 - Rangenet installs new, digital 56k V.90 modems in Babbitt.
This completely eliminates any busy signals for the community and provides up to 60% faster connection speeds.
Rangenet Completes Installation and testing of our new wireless brandband services in
the Virginia Area. This is an "always on" High Speed Access. This is alternative to expensive "leased" lines.
First customer is up and running as of Sept 1st 2001.
Rangenet now has 20 DSL customers.
Rangenet now has dial up numbers all over the United States. Now Rangenet's customers
do not have to find anohter supplier when they go "south" for the winter!
Rangenet closes out the year with 4665 customers. What a year!
2002 - Rangenet Installs and Email "Auto Responder" on its web site
for those who are not going to answer their email for a while.
As of this date Rangenet is the only DSL and Wireless Supplier in the Area!
Rangenet Sells off its wireless gear and closes down its "wireless" operations.
With out financial help from organizations like the IRRRB it is impossible to
Rangenet closes out the year with 5063 customers.
2003 - Rangenet is starting to Saturate the market Customer
sign ups are starting to even off as most everyone on the Iron Range has a computer and
is on the Internet.
Rangenet installs an email SPAM FITLER. SPAM is now becoming 80% of all email received and
is beginning to be a big problem, especially for ISP's.
Rangenet closes out the year with 5420 customers.
2004 - Rangenet closes out the year with 5667 customers.
2005 - Rangenet does a significant update to its WEB EMAIL system.
Rangenet closes out the year with 5843 customers.
2006 - In July Rangenet shuts down its offices in Virginia, located in the
Pioneer Building, and moves all its Servers to the Twin Cities area. This move puts our
servers in a secure, environmentally controlled room. Rangenet's Administration employees have
full access to these servers via "remote" conections from their homes.
2007 - In January Rangenet's system administrator, does a major upgrade to our
SPAM filtering system. This upgrade virtually elminates all SPAM.
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