Category Archives: Bizness Projects

a collection of archival materials and content for the record from a string of internet-centric companies: Zhonka, OlyWa.net, Internet Adventures, Raincity Studios, Happyfrog, Hootsuite etc.

Dave + Jay Talk Zhonka in The Olympian: Libraries join Wi-Fi trend

Re-printed from The Olympian – FRONTPAGE : » News Published Dec. 16, 2005

Wireless Net links spread
Libraries join Wi-Fi trend
BY KATHERINE TAM, THE OLYMPIAN

<excerpted>

Free wireless access began popping up downtown about three years ago, when Dave Olson and Jacob Stewart launched Zhonka Broadband. They were looking to join with cafes to provide free Internet access. They started out by asking merchants they knew.

“People said ‘What are you talking about? Who’s going to use it? This is nuts,’ ” Olson said. “But they said ‘OK.’ ”

New customers
The idea took off. The clientele changed at the 4th Ave. Tav, where people began coming in at the noon hour for lunch and free Wi-Fi, he said. Today, the laptop has become a fixture in coffee shops.

“It creates a third place,” Olson said. “You’ve got your office and your home. Sometimes you need to get away from the distractions and escape.”

Wi-Fi hot spots aren’t widely publicized — though Zhonka publishes a list online — but people have found a way to locate them. Banner said she looks for the distinctive “Zhonka” sticker in shop windows or looks for other laptop users. Word has spread through word of mouth for Caffe Vita, Fink said.

Olympia, Seattle ranked tops for Net customers: Zhonka in The Olympian

Re-printed from The Olympian – Business Briefs- Tuesday May 31, 2005

The Olympian: Private sector offers unique challenges (PDF)

Olympia, Seattle ranked tops for Net customers

Popular Science magazine ranked Seattle and Olympia as number one and two respectively for having the highest national percentage of Internet customers.

The magazine credited the cities’ relatively high number of free wireless access points as a major reason for the high rankings. It also credited the two cities for bucking a national trend for wireless hotspots to charge users a fee for the service.

Olympia-based Zhonka Broadband maintains several free wireless spots in the South Sound region. Company spokesman Dave Olson said it allows the company to showcase its high-speed DSL technology while businesses with the hotspots find that they help to attract customers.

Internet Users Better Protected With Two New Bills – Zhonka Press Release – May 20, 2005

Internet Users Better Protected With Two New Bills – Zhonka Press Release – May 20, 2005

Dave Olson, Gov. Chrstine Gregoire, Jacob Stewart, Hunter Goodman at Bill Signing Ceremony

House Bill 1888 signing ceremony – L to R: Dave Olson, Zhonka Broadband; Governor Christine Gregiore; Jacob Stewart, Washington Association of ISPs; Hunter Goodman, Assistant Attorney General
Photo purchased from House of Representatives

Many misleading e-mails and malicious attachments are now illegal after Governor Christine Gregoire signed two House bills designed to eliminate “Spyware” and “Phishing.”

New guidelines for distributing and installing software in hopes of decreasing Spyware are specified in HB1021, signed into law on May 17th. Often delivered as e-mail attachments or installed along with free software, these malicious software programs are secretly installed on unprotected computers. Once installed, Spyware inundates the victim’s computer with pornographic pop-up ads and windows with bogus security warnings, without any means to remove or de-activate the ads.

In other scenarios, “Malware” programs perform more nefarious activities such as installing a “Trojan” program, by which the intruder gains control of the infected computer. The compromised computer is then used as a “zombie” to deliver infected e-mail or propagating the Spyware through Trojan and Worms. Alternatively, the infected computers may host Phishing sites or even participate in denial of service attacks against other websites.

HB1888, signed May 5th, prohibits sending e-mail soliciting personal information using fraudulent means such as misrepresentation. In a practice commonly called Phishing, a fraudster sends massive quantities of e-mail purporting to be from major bank, well-known websites, or credit card providers seeking account “clarifications” or “updates.” Unsuspecting users who respond to the invalid inquiries are taken to spoofed websites that may look identical to legitimate sites. Once they reveal sensitive information, they easily fall victim to identity theft and credit card fraud, often without knowledge how they’ve been duped.

With the two laws, the Attorney General’s office will have a new tool to combat this sophisticated fraud. Hunter Goodman, Assistant Attorney General and Director of Legislative Affairs points out, “Spyware and phishing are two of the most destructive tactics used by thieves to obtain private personal information from citizens online, and these two new laws will be a tremendous help in our efforts to protect the public from online fraud.”

This cycle of junk-mail and computer compromise is a burden on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who process the excess junk e-mail and experience increased customer support. Dave Olson, of Olympia’s Zhonka Broadband, points out, “In some cases, we need to contact customers who are unwittingly sending out junk mail from an infected computer – they are usually surprised and then frustrated about the clean up work.” Olson also says that Zhonka encourages a proactive approach to computer protection and maintains a list of prevention resources on the company’s website.

Washington Association of Internet Service Providers’ Jacob Stewart applauds the law saying, “This is a great step in providing relief for Internet users beleaguered by junk mail and mal-ware.” But Stewart also offers a practical word of caution, “Due to the de-centralized nature of the Internet, the Washington State law may face enforcement and jurisdiction issues hence users need to continue to use vigilance in protecting their networks.”

Additional Information:
Honeynet Project and Research Alliance, “Know your Enemy: Phishing; Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks” http://www.honeynet.org/papers/phishing/

gov-zhonka-bg

House Bill 1012 signing ceremony – L to R: Dave Olson, Zhonka Broadband; Jacob Stewart, Washington Association of ISPs, Governor Christine Gregiore; Kevin Miller, Zhonka Broadband Intern, Unidentified, Hunter Goodman, Assistant Attorney General -Photo purchased from House of Representatives

South Sound Internet Mogul in it for the Glory: Zhonka, Jay Stewart

South Sound Internet Mogul in it for the Glory – Business Examiner newspaper’s “Fishbowl” – 6/28/04

Zhonka Broadband Secretary General Jacob Stewart says he runs an Olympia-based Internet Service Provider for the glory.  “I started my current business with an eye toward making a living,” Stewart says, “not striking it rich.”

Stewart is no novice to the Internet game. He started OlyWa.Net in 1995. That first company grew quickly and was netting some $1 million a year before merging with Advanced Telecom Group in 2000.

After the OlyWa.Net merger, Stewart says he took a much needed break from the hectic day-to-day stress of building and running a tech company.  “I needed time to decompress,” he says.

That break didn’t last long. In the wake of the Internet boom, Stewart decided to build a leaner, more efficient business. With the help of a small team of investors, Stewart created Zhonka in 2003.

The life of an entrepreneur can be tough, Stewart says. Entrepreneurs should be prepared for long hours, hard work, planning and perseverance. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his job.  “To any would-be entrepreneur I’d say go for it,” Stewart says, “And don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be done.”

New Bill Keeps Internet Tax-Free – WA ISP Press Release (2004)

NEW BILL KEEPS THE INTERNET TAX-FREE  PRESS RELEASE – April 28, 2004

Washington Association of Internet Service Providers

Gov. Gary Locke signs SB 6259. 20040326-2371 WASENATE db

Ron Main of Cable Communications Assoc., Dave Olson of Zhonka Broadband, and Jacob Stewart & Gary Gardner of WAISP join Gov. Locke for SB 6259 bill signing on March 26 2004.

OLYMPIA – During the recent Legislative session, local Internet businesses and industry groups supported a bill to keep Internet services tax-free, in Washington at least. SB 6259 extends the moratorium on cities and towns imposing new taxes on Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Jacob Stewart, Vice-President of the Washington Association of Internet Service Providers (WAISP) suggests, “This tax moratorium extension is important to encourage the use of new Internet technologies by not encumbering users with confusing and redundant taxes.”

Gary Gardner, Executive Director of WAISP, hopes for a fair chance for ISPs who continue to pay the Business and Occupancy (B&O) taxes assessed to general service businesses. “We don’t feel ISPs should pay a separate rate of B&O tax than other businesses, and we continue to oppose any sort of tax on either ISPs or their customers simply for the privilege of accessing the Internet.”

Dave Olson, of Zhonka Broadband, an Olympia-based ISP, sees some comfort from the extension. “This bill enables ISPs to confidently expand broadband service to under-served markets across the digital divide, resulting in increased marketplace choice in areas like Grays Harbor and the Olympic Peninsula.”

A similar Federal bill (HB 49) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last year. However the companion Senate bill (SB 150) failed, opening the door for municipalities to levy additional taxes on ISPs and their customers.

As the U.S. Senate again debates the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, President Bush offered his encouragement, saying, “If you want broadband access throughout the society, Congress must ban taxes on access.”

In Washington, we already have.

Contact: Dave Olson, Zhonka – Gary Gardner, WAISP

“President Unveils Tech Initiatives” April 26 2004http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040426-6.html

Free Wi-Fi Surfbreak – Press Release for Zhonka

PRESS RELEASE – April 6, 2004

FREE WI-FI IS THE “SOUP DU JOUR” FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES

OLYMPIA – As part of Zhonka Broadband’s unique “Surfbreak” program, innovative businesses around the Puget Sound are serving up free wireless Internet access for customers.

While other companies offer “wi-fi” (short for wireless fidelity) for a charge, Zhonka’s Surfbreaks are no-cost and hassle free with no login, password, or membership required. With diverse locations from grassy parks to late-night diners, there is a Surfbreak location to suit most anyone’s preference.

As Zhonka’s Secretary General Jacob Stewart notes, “It’s great to see business people and students escape the office or classroom to meet or study in cafes or parks instead.”

Zhonka, an Olympia-based Internet service provider, introduced this unique program in early 2003 and interest quickly spurred expansion to numerous cafes, espresso shops, computer stores, taverns, and public markets throughout Western Washington.

Recent additions include coffee roasters Batdorf & Bronsons’ Dancing Goats cafe, CafŽ Allegro’s two locations near the University of Washington, and the Olympia Farmer’s Market plus a few micro-brew taverns. A complete list – including contact information – is located online athttp://www.zhonka.net/surfbreak/. Locations are also identified with distinctive “Free Wi-fi for the People” posters and window stickers.

The Surfbreak locations use high speed Zhonka DSL connections to power the wi-fi hot-spots. A customer simply brings a wireless ready laptop or PDA to a Surfbreak locations and “Voila!” they are online.

Dave Olson, Zhonka’s Minister of Marketing Affairs puts forth that everyone involved stands to gain from this arrangement, “The Surfbreak program offers participating businesses a strategic advantage over competitors who charge for use. While we certainly enjoy the goodwill and publicity, the biggest winners in this scenario are folks using this exciting new technology.”

##

Contact:
Dave Olson Minister of Marketing Affairs
Zhonka Broadband

Zhonka’s Dave Olson and Jay Stewart on Business Examiner 40 Under 40 List (2003)

40 Under 40 selected by (Tacoma, WA) Business Examiner – 6/23/03

Article by Paul Schrag

When more than three dozen “movers and shakers” gather in one place, you can expect the kind of energy that lights up a room, especially when the group consists of ambitious, younger standouts in the world of local business.

That was the case last week, when The Tacoma Club Young Executives and Business Examiner Newspaper Group hosted an event recognizing this inaugural class of 40 Under 40. The energizing power was awe-inspiring, even to older guests at the gathering, who came away with assured that the future of the South Sound is in quality hands.

On the pages that follow, you will have the opportunity to meet this stellar crowd — presented here in alphabetical order — and get to know a little more about what is important to them. Remember that there is far more talent here than can be adequately described in words. When you see them at work, at service or at play in the community, take the initiative to meet them — you will be as impressed. And plan right now to make your own nominations for the 2004 40-Under-40 List when it comes round next spring.


Dave Olson
Minister of Marketing Affairs, Zhonka Broadband
Year of birth: 1970

As a managing partner and marketing director of an Internet service provider, Dave Olson does a lot of document writing, including business plans, proposals, agreements, contracts, press releases, marketing collateral, letters, technical FAQs and media articles. He also oversees corporate governance and company financing issues under his title as Minister of Marketing Affairs.

“Additionally, I organize and implement advertising campaigns, special events and promotions including the free community wireless access surfbreaks,’ customer appreciation parties and donated access,” he explains.

“I aim to help grow Zhonka Broadband into an innovative and profitable ISP serving communities throughout the Northwest region,” Olson says.

“I would also like to finish my elusive Evergreen degree and perhaps attend law school at UBC specializing in intellectual property, international trade and arbitration. One way or another, I hope to continue to travel internationally and perhaps make another documentary film or two,” he adds.

Olson’s role models and heroes have always been writers, artists, activists and adventurers such as H.D. Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Gary Snyder, Walt Whitman, Edmund Hilary, Thor Heyerdahl, Leo Tolstoy, Vaclav Havel, Leo da Vinci, etc.


Jay Stewart
Co-founder/Technology guru, Zhonka Broadband
Year of birth: 1966

As an entrepreneur in a high-tech small business, Zhonka Broadband co-founder and Technology Guru Jacob Stewart finds that he wears many different hats at different times as necessitated by circumstance.

“As a managing partner of the LLC, I am Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief (insert any adjective) Officer, salesman, network architect, government relations, customer support representative,” he continues. “I am also office supply clerk and, sometimes, janitor.”

He feels the real gratification comes when the business starts to flourish after putting in so much time generating business plans and standards of practice, finding investors for funding, networking with the local business community and marketing our business directly to the community.

“That is the most fulfilling part of my job,” Stewart says.

Stewart was also co-founder and Vice-president of Information Technology and chairman of the board for ISP, Oly.Wa.net and currently serves as vice-president of Washington Association of Internet Service Providers, which helped push through the state’s anti-SPAM bill. He also serves as chairman of the board of the Washington State Internet Lobby.

“In the next 10 years, I would like to see Zhonka Broadband grow to be a major player and shaper of the high speed Internet access market throughout Washington State and the Northwest,” he says. “Our business plan includes conservative, yet steady, growth of our geographic service area to 10 states in the Northwest and Midwest region.”

Stewart would also like to formalize his college degree by getting his credits transferred to one institution, so that he may graduate and continue graduate studies in management and the global economy.

He admits that he can’t point to any one person in his life who he tries to emulate or from whom he learned his business skills.

“I guess I feel my generation didn’t have a lot of heroes’ to emulate,” he explains. “We had to find inspiration on our own.

“I’d say that, if I wanted to point to someone as an inspiration to me today, it would be George Soros,” Stewart adds. “This international billionaire, financier, philanthropist, who grew up in Hungary during the harsh oppressive regimes of both the Nazis and the Soviet Union, has my respect.”

Stewart says his admiration of Soros stems from both his financial success and his advocacy of a civil “Open Society.”

“He had a philosophy that espoused openness,” says Stewart, “and condemns totalitarianism and tyranny in all its forms, in both the social and financial spheres of politics.”

Zhonka: Entrepreneurs create local ISP in The Olympian

Entrepreneurs create local ISP in The Olympian (PDF)  3/21/03 – The Olympian

Article by Alex Goff for the Olympian about Zhonka’s plans. Features picture of Zhonka co-founders, Jay Stewart and Dave Olson, enjoying wireless Internet access at the Clubside Cafe with proprietor Kenny Trobman.

Keny pours coffee for Dave Olson and Jay Stewart
Steve Bloom/The Olympian

ALEX GOFF FOR THE OLYMPIAN
A second chance can be a golden opportunity, or so Jay Stewart and Dave Olson hope.

Former managing partners of South Sound Internet service provider OlyWa.net, Stewart and Olson sold that business to California-based Advanced TelCom Group, or ATG, in 2000.

Stewart and Olson stepped away from the business altogether. And ATG has since filed for bankruptcy, and most of its assets have been purchased by General Electric.

Now, Olson and Stewart are back and have moved into the old OlyWa.net offices and set up Zhonka Broadband — an Internet service provider offering digital subscriber line (DSL) services to subscribers in Western Washington.

## SIDEBAR ##

Zhonka Broadband

Internet service provider with monthly rates from $15 to $40.

– Owners: Jay Stewart and Dave Olson – Location: 1430 Evergreen Park Lane,

Olympia
– Telephone: 360-701-6958 – Web site: www.zhonka.com

##

“We’ve sort of come full circle,” Stewart said. “But we’ve learned a great deal in the meantime. We spent the better part of the last six months working on our business plan and looking for investors. The lessons we’ve learned have allowed us to cut our costs considerably.”

Zhonka sees itself as a competitor to providers such as MSN, which has similar monthly rates. Zhonka offers no content, but plenty of bandwidth and service.

“It’s just a big, fast pipe,” Olson said. “We’re the friendly local guys who support the community with all the perks of some of the larger ISPs.”

Zhonka manages its own network, monitors outages and handles questions. Stewart said other ISPs depend on the phone company to do much of that.

By using techniques such as e-billing and concentrating on the type of faster connection most customers seem to want, Stewart said operating costs will be about a tenth of what OlyWa’s were. The pair has about a dozen subscribers since launching two weeks ago, and expects to break even at about 500.

That number is certainly attainable — OlyWa had 1,500 — Olson said, because “there’s a big demand for a local ISP.”

“We see a clear need in the market,” Stewart said. “Consumers are faced with a choice between impersonal, out-of-state providers and well-meaning, but often underpowered, local firms. We’ve designed Zhonka to fill this void by offering cutting-edge services coupled with responsive customer support.”

Which begs the question: Why did Olson and Stewart sell to ATG?

http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20030321/business/25727.shtml

“It seemed like a good marriage,” Olson said. “And there were some cost savings involved. But ATG’s model turned out not to be our model of doing things.”

A big part of the Zhonka model is being part of the community — whether that is providing services and Web page space for nonprofits or setting up complimentary wireless Internet access points in various downtown locations.

Zhonka’s laptop and palmtop users can access the net at cafes wirelessly. The zones already have been set up at The Other Guys’ Internet cafe and the Clubside Cafe, both on Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia. Zhonka is in discussions with Olympia Farmers Market for a hookup there also.

“It’s certainly an emerging technology, and it’s also something that gives us a presence in downtown,” Olson said. “I was down at the Clubside Cafe the other day and listening to the Vancouver Canucks game on Web radio.”

“The key part of it is to make sure there are no interruptions,” Stewart said. “When we got everything connected, I would log on to a radio site like National Public Radio and keep it on for 24 hours to ensure it’s a smooth connection. People are willing to pay more for good and fast connections. They don’t want interruptions.”

Stewart and Olson moved back into their old offices because of the fiber optic line already installed there, but it’s been a strange reunion.

“There’s a little bit of deja vu involved, that’s for sure,” Olson said. “But we’ve seen a lot with the bottom dropping out of the Internet economy and new technologies coming through. We’ve learned a lot about making the Internet efficient.”

“ATG purchased” in The Olympian with comments by Dave Olson

ATG (OlyWa) Purchased from The Olympian – (pdf) 06/06/02

Scott Wyland from The Olympian article again mentions Zhonka entering the market, “Former OlyWa employee Dave Olson, also unavailable for comment, has said he wants to launch an ISP called Zhonka Broadband, which would offer high-speed connections to Web users.”

Long-distance company ATG purchased

Integra officials say OlyWa service will not be disrupted

SCOTT WYLAND THE OLYMPIAN

Advanced TelCom Group Inc., a mid-sized carrier that gave callers an alternative to Baby Bells, has agreed to sell its assets to repay a chunk of its $206 million debt.

Portland company

Portland-based Integra Telecom will take over most of ATG’s assets, which include property, equipment, customer accounts and labor pool.

Based in Santa Rosa, Calif., ATG two years ago bought OlyWa.net, a local Internet service provider.

ATG laid off OlyWa’s 10 employees by the time it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early May but continued to serve some 1,600 subscribers.

No disruptions

No disruption of service is expected under Integra, including to OlyWa customers, said Gary Cuccio, ATG executive chairman.

Cuccio said he took the helm at ATG six months ago in an attempt to turn the company around, but by then it was too late.

“We grew too fast,” Cuccio said. “We simply borrowed money that we were unable to pay back.” Integra representatives couldn’t be reached on Wednesday to discuss their plans for OlyWa.

Former OlyWa employee Dave Olson, also unavailable for comment, has said he wants to launch an ISP called Zhonka Broadband, which would offer high-speed connections to Web users.

Because of the Chapter 11 filing, the sale can’t be completed until all parties sign off on it, including ATG’s creditors, Cuccio said. That could take one day or several months.

Integra will have the option of changing the ATG name, he said. “Not much will be left of ATG.”

All told, ATG will receive about $20 million for its customer accounts and other assets, about one-tenth of what it owes 13 banks, Cuccio said. Creditors will have to eat the remaining debt, he said.

Other buyers

Three other buyers purchased a small portion of the assets: Cavalier Communications, of Richmond, Va.; Step 7, of Santa Rosa; and TelePacific Communications of Los Angeles.

ATG spiraled into the red when the slumping economy caused small to mid-size businesses — ATG’s main client base — to fold or pull back on spending, Cuccio said.

The mounting debt prevented the company from doing an initial public stock offering needed to boost capital, he said.

ATG had some success competing against big carriers such as 1/2 est, but it lacked the resources these large companies had for weathering an industry slide, Cuccio said. “I think when the downturn hits, they have deeper pockets.”

Dave Olson in “OlyWa office empty” article in The Olympian (2002)

OlyWa office empty – (pdf) 05/28/02 – The Olympian

Article by Scott Wyland from The Olympian foreshadows start-up of Zhonka, “Olson and other OlyWa team members plan to launch a company called Zhonka Broadband, which will offer DSL to customers throughout Western Washington, with the focus being on South Sound.”

Dave OlyWa office
Steve Bloom/The Olympian

OlyWa offices empty

Staff laid off, service could be cut as parent company files Chapter 11

Although OlyWa.net’s work force was laid off due to ATG’s ailing finances, Dave Olson hopes he and some other former OlyWa employees can launch a new Internet service provider.

SCOTT WYLAND THE OLYMPIAN
OLYMPIA —

Advanced TelCom Group Inc., which owns OlyWa.net, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a move that eventually could leave 1,550 local Internet subscribers without service.

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based ATG has laid off all 10 of OlyWa’s employees, plus a dozen ATG workers in its Olympia office.

Internet users who need technical support must call an 800 number.

Although ATG can solve most users’ problems over the phone, it has no one to maintain or repair the on-site equipment in Olympia, said Dave Olson, former OlyWa co-owner.

“Any hardware failures can’t be handled from afar,” Olson said. “Sooner or later something will happen.”
For instance, Monday he observed a server that handles e-commerce for a group of clients was down, he said.

To override the glitch, someone simply needed to reboot the computer — but there was no one there to do that, he said.

OlyWa is a lower priority for ATG, whose main thrust is offering callers an alternative to buying phone service from utilities such as Qwest, Olson said.

ATG will shut down OlyWa if it can’t find someone to buy the customer accounts, he said.

Two years ago, ATG bought then-5-year-old OlyWa for an undisclosed sum. One of the co-founders, Olson stayed on as a marketing manager.

Of the 25 workers who were employed locally after the merger, one or two salespeople and a phone installer remain, Olson said.

Jeannette Meyer, ATG finance director, said last week’s Chapter 11 filing would have no effect on telephone customers. That includes ATG’s subsidiary, FairPoint Solutions.

However, Meyer wouldn’t say how OlyWa subscribers would be affected.

She acknowledged that the filing compelled the company to reduce costs, including trimming staff. ATG closed offices in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Virginia.

Under Chapter 11, ATG must reorganize in such a way that it can pay off at least a portion of the debt owed creditors.

Buyer wanted

ATG now is on the hunt for a buyer and will hold off on cutting any more jobs, Meyer said, adding that a new owner could opt to lay off more workers after the sale.

Olson and other OlyWa team members plan to launch a company called Zhonka Broadband, which will offer DSL to customers throughout Western Washington, with the focus being on South Sound.

Olson said he had been waiting for a non-compete clause, which he signed when ATG bought OlyWa, to expire June 15.

But ATG’s Chapter 11 filing has nullified that agreement, at least in spirit, he said. So he plans to rev up the Zhonka venture immediately.

Zhonka, he said, will lure OlyWa users who either will grow dissatisfied with the diminishing service or find themselves with no Internet access if ATG pulls the plug.

Olson said he decided to base the venture on high-speed connections because dial-up modems, aside from being slower and less appealing, demand more workers.

ATG’s financial ills are a symptom of the malaise gripping the entire telecommunications industry, said Dennis Matson, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Thurston County.

Given the sluggish economy, telecom carriers are having difficulty drumming up capital to expand, Matson said. If a company doesn’t show vibrant growth, it can’t attract enough investors to do an initial public stock offering.

Matson bemoaned ATG’s ebbing fortunes, saying he encouraged the company to build a network in South Sound, so residents could have more telecom choices.

“For people in Thurston County, the more options, the better,” Matson said.

Concerns

OlyWa.net subscribers with problems or concerns about their service can call Advanced TelCom Group at 800- 285-6100 or e-mail atgservice@callatg.com.