By Martin J. Kidston
The information superhighway has been routed through Havre and Holiday Village Shopping Center.
Stellar Computer Consulting, an Internet service provider, has been growing at its mall location for the past three years. Now, with five new computers wired for public use, surfers can hang 10 while exploring the world of information.
What we did is put five brand new computers up at the mall, said David Shaw, co-owner of Stellar. People can come up here and use the computers. We are hard-wired to the Internet with a T-1 band its a data line that goes from here to Helena, transferring files at one megabit per second.
The convenience of direct Internet wiring puts the computer modem to shame when it comes to downloading information, Shaw said. What normally takes time and patience can be achieved in the blink of an eye.
If somebody had a big file to download, they can do it here in a few seconds, Shaw said. We can transfer up to a hundred times faster than what a modem can do. My kids downloaded a game here in five minutes. At home it took them six hours.
Using Pentium II processors operating at 350 megahertz with 28 megabytes of ram all hard-wired to the Internet time and speed are the essence of trouble-free browsing. And when adults arent transferring documents, kids can play multi-player games with true-to-life speed.
With 19-inch monitors, sidewinder joysticks and network games, the imagination is the limit. For a $4 an per hour fee, Shaw says come in, well set you down and help you if you have trouble. Whats more, if you buy five hours at a time, he said youll get the sixth hour free.
Games and lightning-fast computers aside, Stellar also works beyond its mall location.
Were mainly an Internet service provider where, if a customer doesnt want to go through America Online, say, they can do it with us and keep a local phone number and avoid long distance fees in the process, Shaw said. With us, you get on-sight service. If you cant get your modem to dial in, well send someone to fix it.
Shaw said the charge is $24.95 for unmeasured access, which means you can use it as much as you want. The service includes 56k access.
According to Shaw, Stellar has just under 1,000 customers in Havre and more across the Hi-Line. Growing steady for three years, he said Stellar averages two new customers a day.
I would say that in the next five years, the Internet will be in every house like the TV, Shaw said. Im almost lost now without it.
In the near future, Shaw said, that Stellar will give tutorials on how to use the Internet and electronic mail and how to build web pages.
It will be regular computer stuff with small classes, five or so at a time, Shaw said. We can get people at the same skill level and train them all at the same time. Everybody wins in a small class.