Cape's Big River Telephone acquires Clas.net

Monday, November 1, 2004

Over the past nine years, Gene Magnus has watched his Cape Girardeau Clas.net grow from a dial-up Internet up-start into one of the area's leading Internet service providers. But now Magnus has decided his business needs a new owner, a bigger company with the wherewithal to take Clas.net and its expanding customer base into the future.

On Friday, Magnus finalized a deal that transferred all of Clas.net's assets and its list of 4,500 Southeast Missouri customers to Big River Telephone. That list also includes customers of MCOMM, a local telephone service provider that Magnus started in 2002.

"We needed to grow," Magnus said. "Big River already has the elements in place to take my customer base to the next level of information movement and management."

Big River president Kevin Cantwell said that the acquisition of Clas.net will enable Big River to further deliver advanced Internet Protocol voice, data and multimedia services to its new customers. From his side of the deal, Cantwell said the acquisition strengthens Big River's standing in the local broadband communications market.

Based in Cape Girardeau, Big River Telephone operates a fixed wireless network that delivers local, long-distance, data and Internet services to residences and businesses throughout eastern Missouri, Southern Illinois and western Kentucky.

"We're excited about the opportunity to add Clas.net to our growing company," Cantwell said. "We're looking forward to providing our new customers with the same superior service that existing customers receive. The use of technology will allow our customers to grow and will reap huge benefits for the region."

Under the terms of the deal, the Clas.net organization will move to the Big River Telephone facility at 24 S. Minnesota Ave. That includes six previous Clas.net employees. Cantwell said those six each wanted to make the move, and that all employees not switching over are doing so of their own volition.

As far as customers, Big River marketing coordinator Meredith White said that all customers of MCOMM will be absorbed into the Big River telephone service. Internet customers will be incorporated into the Big River network, but can keep their Clas.net domain names unless they choose not to.

trehagen@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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