Ashland Home Net sold

Ashland Home Net and Ashland TV announced new ownership Thursday night in a match that was "made in heaven," said former owner Gary Nelson.

Jim Teece and his wife Dena Matthews, co-founders of Project A, Inc., a local software and Web site development company, bought both Ashland Home Net and Ashland TV in a deal effective immediately.

"I actually sought out Jim because it's a perfect marriage," Nelson said. "What we have, he doesn't, and what he has, we don't. The two companies could blend perfectly."

In October of 2006, the city of Ashland split off television programming services from Ashland Fiber Network and handed it over to Nelson and Ashland Home Net.

When Nelson took over Ashland Home Net, it was ranked seventh out of nine Internet service providers in Ashland, he said. Last month, the company reached the top slot, and he is looking for Teece to continue that trend.

"Jim has a lot innovative plans that will help the business considerably," he said.

Nelson has been contemplating retirement for several years, so much so that he almost didn't get involved in the creation of Channel 20, a joint project between him and Teece launched this summer that provides all local content, including community calendars, weather, school closings and local videos.

"I'm looking at expanding that and really going deep on making sure we can constantly provide all of the things that go on in our community," Teece said. "I wanted to make sure that somebody was going to buy it and that it stayed here locally in Ashland."

Teece created the Web site Today in Ashland several years ago, and Channel 20 expands upon that concept, he said.

Nelson will stay with the company for the next 18 months to lead the transition, and the company has announced no price increases or name changes. The only differences customers can expect are new Web sites that allow customers to report any problems and provide more transparency, Teece said.

"We're really excited, and we're really looking forward to building upon what Gary has done, and what he has done is build a successful network this is building upon success," Teece said.

"I'm thrilled to see this happen," said City of Ashland IT Director Joe Franell in a press release following the deal. "We are excited about what this means for our citizens and are very happy with Gary's decision to sell to a local couple who are already part of the Ashland Fiber Network family."

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