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S.L. FIRM OFFERS LOCAL ACCESS TO INTERNET

"In l5 minutes I can blow your mind," says Chris Matthews.

He doesn't mean literally, of course. Matthews is referring to the capabilities that he and entrepreneur Joe Cannon are now offering Utah businesses via a new company they have formed in Salt Lake City.That is Evergreen Internet Inc., which Matthews says will give customers instant access to the "information superhighway" world-wide with no more than a local phone call.

Cannon, chairman and CEO of Geneva Steel, Provo, and Matthews, until recently leasing agent and manager for the Triad Center complex on west South Temple, will operate the new company at Matthews' office in Triad Center. They have opened the facility through a licensing agreement with Phoenix-based Evergreen Internet.

Mike Pierce, a former vice president at Provo-based Novell Inc., is also a partner in the enterprise.

Evergreen is a full-access Internet provider, said Matthews, offering dial-up connections via modem and dedicated lines of 56Kbps, to full-frame relay T-1. It is currently active in most Western cities and is moving into the East Coast.

"This access to Internet puts Utah right at the top for those who want to be in touch with a worldwide network," said Matthews.

Matthews said the fee for access via Evergreen varies depending on use. The lowest fee for a dial-up, home-based account is $17.50 per month. Businesses may prefer to have dedicated lines to allow constant access and a broader band width, which allows more information to be transferred at a faster rate.

The Internet is a series of worldwide networks and information resources connecting an estimated 50 million computers to most of the nations of the world. It is said to be growing at a rate of 1-2 million users per month and is expected to connect some 70 million computers by the end of the year.

The possibilities for people connected to the Internet are virtually limitless, said Matthews.

"Through Evergreen, with only a local phone call, you can retrieve data from Tokyo to New Zealand to Austria. You can look at Renoir paintings at the Louvre, in Paris; you can leave a message for a friend who might be visiting Russia; if you were making a business presentation in San Francisco but needed to change some things, you could do it by phone and have fresh new copies in minutes. The possibilities are mind-boggling for businesspeople and educators."

Matthews concedes that the Internet is not without "bugs" but promised it will get better in time. "The resources are phenomenal; that's why (Gov. Mike Leavitt) has made it a major initiative to have all the Utah schools on the Internet."

Evergreen is not the only way to access the Internet, of course, but Matthews said his company is distinguishing itself by orienting its marketing and education efforts toward the business community.

"We are not only giving businesses access, but teaching them how to use that access," he said.

Evergreen has local Internet access nodes in Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden with dial-up lines and equipment so that access is available through local phone numbers.

That means there are no long-distance charges or hourly charges for access provided through Evergreen. Subscribers pay a single, fixed fee, which Matthews said affords them virtually unlimited access to the Internet.

The Internet was begun in the early 1970s by the Department of Defense but is now used as a resource for a vast array of personal and commercial enterprises. It is the backbone of the worldwide E-mail system and allows users to "chat" with others on a global basis with just a local phone call.

It also enables users to access information from the largest collection of databases in the world. Internet users can participate on thousands of bulletin boards focused on virtually every conceivable subject, including news and financial data.