Lakeland Internet expanding into Fremont
By Mike Marturello | KPC Media - The Herald Republican
Lakeland Internet announced this week that it is now offering high speed internet service in previously unserved Fremont areas.
The move is part of the Sweet Family of Companies’ growth in the wireless internet service providing market in Steuben County that was augmented with the recent purchase of Angola-based ZipSpider.
“We’re going to operate the two entities separately for a time then we will merge them together,” said Sweetwater Vice President Don Banowetz. What name that company will operate under is not yet known, he added.
Lakeland Internet’s latest service expansion is available throughout the Fremont area with speeds up to 25 mbps. This new service will allow customers the ability to watch online content from Netflix, Hulu and others on multiple devices that previously would not have been possible.
“Our goal is to bring the latest and best technology to the region, allowing the people of Northeast Indiana the opportunity to effectively connect to our rapidly changing digital world,” said Lakeland Internet general manager Mark Byler. “Fremont is the latest expansion where we’re offering our customers the ability to maximize their experience on the internet.”
Lakeland was established about 18 months ago with Sweetwater owner Chuck Surak as a partner. It was the first expansion of the Sweet Family of Companies into Steuben County. The company is based in Fort Wayne.
Surack already was familiar with the broadband business when his company made the purchase of ZipSpider. He founded Lakeland Internet out of frustration with the lack of broadband access at his lake home in Steuben County and the statement said he has continued those earlier efforts to improve connectivity in the tri-state area.
Customers can purchase internet packages for as low as $29.95 per month. This includes wi-fi setup and custom installation with a standard mount.
Fremont residents can call Lakeland Internet at 624-2013 to learn more and to set up a site survey. Typical installation of service is complete within 48 hours. For more information, visit lakelandinternet.com. Further internet expansion is planned in the near future.
Banowetz said purchasing ZipSpider enables the company to acquire existing infrastructure to expand its services, as well as picking up an existing customer base.
“It gives us a greater ability to reach and service the customers in Steuben County,” Banowetz said. “That provided a niche opportunity that had a real need in the marketplace. That’s where Lakeland came from.”
Surack founded Sweetwater 40 years ago to provide easy access to music technology. The statement about the Zip Spider acquisition said he has followed a similar business model for his Sweet Family of Companies.
SweetCars, Sweet Aviation, All Pro Integrated Systems, Longe Optical and Lakeland Internet all resulted from efforts to solve a problem or meet a need for quality service in the region while retaining northeast Indiana jobs, the statement said.
ZipSpider’s employees were all retained in the acquisition, a statement from the Sweet Family of Companies said.
“The high standards of business ethics and principles we strive for at ZipSpider are the same high standards that Chuck Surack has and instills in his team,” said ZipSpider’s former owner, Steven Swick.