Postman, Patron, Soldier, ‘Sconnie: Bonus Content

Posted on December 20, 2015 - Uncategorized

Editor’s note: This post is bonus content from a November/December issue of our internal newsletter WINDOW. Enjoy!

If you’re a regular reader of our bi-monthly newsletter WINDOW, you’ll know all about Wally Nelson, the intrepid veteran, postmaster, inspector, and longtime SirenTel customer from the feature story about him in the November/December 2015 issue.

If not, suffice it to say that being a member of the Greatest Generation is only the beginning for Wally. From driving landing craft into enemy fire in the Pacific during WWII to managing the home front through wartime rations and shortages, Wally and his wife Rose are living embodiments of the very best of America. (more…)

Kristina Bourget Joins WIN Management Team

Posted on November 17, 2015 - WIN News

WIN is excited to announce that Kristina Bourget has joined the WIN executive team as vice president of compliance and contract management.

Kristina brings 24 years of legal experience to WIN, including time as an attorney with several law firms and as a Circuit Court Judge in Eau Claire County.

“I’m looking forward to joining the WIN team and facing new challenges in my career,” says Kristina. “It is truly exciting to become part of the telecommunications industry at a time when so many advancements are being made in broadband services and other technologies.”

Kristina holds a B.B.A. in finance from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

“As our company continues to grow and technology increases in complexity, so do our regulatory, HR, and contractual obligations,” says Scott Hoffmann, WIN CEO. “Kristina has skills and knowledge from previous corporate law experience that will help our business address these obligations.”

 WIN Announces Latest Round of MEF Certifications

Posted on October 19, 2015 - WIN News

WIN today announced that fifteen staff recently passed the rigorous MEF CECP 2.0 examination.

Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), a telecommunications industry group, developed and maintains the Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (CECP) program, the gold standard in Carrier Ethernet service knowledge and recognition of individual expertise.

“Technical knowledge is key to providing great service in our line of business,” says Scott Hoffmann, WIN CEO. “I commend the fifteen newest MEF CECPs at WIN and am proud of the Carrier Ethernet knowledge they’ve added to our company.”

The fifteen additional CECPs brings WIN’s total count up to twenty-three CECP staff members involved in network engineering, network management, provisioning, and outside technical services. The WIN CECP staff members join over 3,000 industry employees globally that have passed the MEF CECP exam.

WIN continues to invest in education, training, and certifications for its staff. Employee expertise is one way WIN delivers on its “Engineered To Serve” passion for delivering reliable, flexible, and responsive network communications services.

WIN is an Eau Claire, Wis.-based Ethernet, Internet, Data Center, and Network Management Services provider. Since 1999, WIN has built and acquired over 5,000 miles of fiber optic network in the Upper Midwest to serve wholesale and enterprise customers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Upper Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, and global locations through regional, national, and international partnerships.

WIN Staff Pass MEF Certification

Posted on October 8, 2013 - WIN News

WIN is proud to announce that seven staff members recently passed the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) Certification Program.

Lane Brunn, Ryan Ferguson, Jacob Orf, Glen Roeder, Ryan Rudack, Casey Shields, and Matt Yach passed the rigorous test on Friday, October 4th, 2013. In addition, Jason Hotujec passed the exam last year.

The MEF certification follows a rigorous exam and identifies service providers who are at the top of the industry. According to the MEF website:

“The MEF’s Certification programs for Equipment Manufacturers and Service Providers identify the industry’s leaders and showcase expertise and excellence in the products and services that they bring to the market.”

The seven new certifications bring the total number of MEF certified WIN staff to eight. Several more WIN team members are in the process of certification.

For more information on the Metro Ethernet Forum and the certification process, visit

WIN Announces Acquisition of Spiralight Assets

Posted on July 23, 2013 - WIN News

Eau Claire, WI – Wisconsin Independent Network, LLC (WIN) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of fiber network assets from Spiralight Network, LLC, a subsidiary of Hilbert Communications, LLC. Financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed.

The assets acquired from Spiralight by WIN include all fiber assets, all electronics and equipment tied to the fiber assets, the existing fiber network customer base, and eight equipment hut locations along Interstate 94 between Chicago and Minneapolis. The acquisition adds approximately 1,300 miles of fiber to WIN’s network.

“This acquisition is a great strategic fit for WIN in terms of increased network capacity and redundancy, decreased costs, and additional network nodes from which we provide connectivity to our customers,” according to Scott Hoffmann, WIN CEO. “WIN’s growth philosophy is to continually increase our network density, reach, and capacity within the Upper Midwest to better serve our customers and rural telephone company owners.”

Fiber optic cables typically contain dozens to hundreds of glass strands about the width of a human hair. By adding electro-optical equipment at both ends of a pair of fiber optic strands, high speed data transmission rates approaching 100Gigabits per second or more can be achieved over a fiber optic network. Network applications such as Internet, TV video, cellular telephone traffic, voice, and business/government/education data traffic travel over these networks quickly, securely, and reliably.

About WIN: Formed in 1997, WIN is a Midwest regional provider of wholesale and enterprise transport network services, next generation Internet solutions, and data center services. WIN is an operating subsidiary of Communications Management Group, LLC, a privately-held company owned by 31 independent local telephone companies. The company’s website may be found at:

WIN Announces Completion of SOC 2 Data Center Exam

Posted on June 24, 2013 - WIN News

Eau Claire, WI – Wisconsin Independent Network, LLC (WIN) announced today that its Eau Claire data center collocation services have successfully completed a SOC 2 Type 1 examination for availability and security principles. The Chicago-based auditing firm Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, conducted the audit.

The SOC 2 report contains management’s description of WIN’s data center systems and the suitability of the design of controls that the organization has in place to manage those systems. The report provides substantial insight into the people, policies, processes, and technology used to effectively achieve the respective control objectives. These objectives include: physical security, availability and change management, risk assessment and mitigation, incident and event management, and service continuity

“When we opened WIN’s Eau Claire data center in 2007, we knew that someday we would have business clients who require third-party assurances that we can meet their advanced requirements for security and availability,” according to Scott Hoffmann, WIN CEO. “We’ve invested significant time and capital in the design of our systems and processes to deliver on those expectations and all of our data center customers are the beneficiaries of those efforts.”

SOC 2 reports are often required by internal and external business entity auditors to ensure control criteria are being met by providers of outsourced services. The standards for SOC examinations are set by the American Institute of CPAs.

About WIN: Formed in 1997, WIN is a Midwest regional provider of wholesale and enterprise transport network services, next generation IP solutions, and data center services. WIN is an operating subsidiary of Communications Management Group, LLC, a privately-held company owned by 31 independent local telephone companies. Thecompanyäó»s website may be found at

WIN Growth 2008-Present

Posted on May 11, 2012 - WIN News

WIN has experienced significant growth since my last post on the website about our business in 2008! As I look back at that update, I struggle with summarizing WIN’s activity. But here goes:

  • Our fiber optic-based DWDM, Ethernet and SONET network now extends nearly 4000 miles touching four states.
  • We operate 80 Points of Presence (POPs) across this network äóñ which means we touch nearly 80 cities and towns across our network.
  • Our Network Management Center in Eau Claire has grown to a 24 x 7 in-house staffed operation
  • Our overall staff has grown to forty employees.
  • We have tied a number of businesses directly into our network through fiber construction projects, providing these businesses mission critical access to bandwidth via the WIN network.
  • We continue to support the advancement of our thirty-one member-owner telephone companies as they evolve in the ever-changing telecommunications businessäó_ with new services, new technology, and expanded network capacity and redundancy.

Our Internet business, Airstream Communications, continues to experience significant growth. Since 2008, the amount of Internet traffic traversing the Airstream network has increased 8.8 times! Airstream provides wholesale Internet services that serve nearly 100,000 residents and businesses throughout Wisconsin. It utilizes the WIN network for bandwidth and network diversity, connecting three diverse serving centers to provide a very high degree of Internet service reliability. By 3Q 2012, Airstream will have direct GigE upstream connections not only in the Midwest but also at major traffic exchange points on both the East and West coasts.

WIN’s data center, sitting on a WIN network hub in Eau Claire and hosting one of Airstream’s serving centers, continues to grow its customer base. Customers in the data center have fully redundant access to WIN’s expansive network, Airstream’s Internet connectivity, and the skilled staff of technicians, engineers, and system administrators that support our Network Management Center.

We have expanded the breadth of our services while leveraging our network, our data center and our Internet operations. Past press releases have shared the news of SMB Group, WASD Game Servers and WIN IT Services. All are wholly owned subsidiaries that provide services closely related to our network, data center and Internet operations. We are very excited about the growth potential of all three of these new businesses.

As I think about the makeup of our company today, now thirteen years in this business, we are staffed with many employees who have highly technical backgrounds. WIN’s leadership team, including myself, consists of engineers by education and early career experience. But we pride ourselves on what we hear from our customers; a company that is flexible, easy to work with, and one that does what we say we will do. Thank you for your interest in WIN and its affiliate companies; we look forward to working together with you to meet and exceed your expectations.

SMB Group Opens Its Doors

Posted on March 20, 2012 - WIN News

A new company in the Midwest is focused on helping rural critical service industries, such as healthcare, financial institutions and even main street USA, survive in a business climate of increasing regulatory pressures. SMB Group, LLC, a decade-long vision of CIO Samuel Soper, has opened its doors at Banbury Place in Eau Claire, WI, as an operating subsidiary of Communications Management Group, LLC.

“Communities thrive in rural areas because of people who enjoy the small town attributes of customer service, familiarity with local businesses, and a preferable way of life in which to raise their families,” states Soper. “However, local financial firms and small-office healthcare providers are under increasing regulatory scrutiny and emerging industry requirements that could eventually force them to make community-affecting decisions, such as being acquired by a larger firm or ultimately going out of business altogether and leaving a void in the community.”

SMB Group’s staff consists of highly qualified business and technology professionals. Their primary focus is to help rural organizations save time, money, and effort through appropriate education, strategic planning, and governance, risk and compliance management. Through continuing research and screening processes, SMB Group showcases a group of “best-of-breed” products, processes, and services that help critical businesses meet their immediate and future needs through available, affordable, and manageable solutions.

Scott Hoffmann, CEO, adds, “SMB Group is a great complement to our other operating companies, Wisconsin Independent Network and Airstream Communications, which also support rural Midwest customers with data networking, Internet, data center, and IT consulting services.”

“The combination of our career experiences within the financial, healthcare, technical, accounting, and defense industries motivates us with a mission-first approach to assisting these small to medium businesses survive,” says Soper. “If we can help level the industry playing field by offering top-level advice, processes, and tools that help at least one business in each small community continue to serve its local customers, we have achieved our mission and our vision.”

WIN Launches New Online Game Server Business

Posted on November 30, 2011 - WIN News

Wisconsin Independent Network, LLC (WIN), a major fiber optic network, Internet, and data center provider in the Upper Midwest, announces the launch of WASD Game Servers, an online PC game server service supporting many popular multiplayer games.

“You don’t have to look very far to figure out that video gaming is a growing industry, based on the popularity of and increased advertising for newer, more complex and amazingly realistic games,” states WIN CEO Scott Hoffmann.  “We don’t sell the games to the consumers; what we provide are the servers that support customizable playing fields or arenas that multiple online gamers and gaming clans use for practice, fun, and competition.”

The WASD Game Servers infrastructure resides within WIN’s Eau Claire data center. Over 10Gbps of Internet connectivity to various North American core Internet sites helps ensure low latency and high resiliency of players’ network performance back to the servers.

Hoffmann explains, “This idea originated with one of our network management center employees, who is himself an avid online gamer.  We looked at our existing services, resources, and industry trends, and decided this was a good fit for diversifying our revenue while providing a great Internet gaming experience for players.”

More information on current and upcoming game server offerings, along with an interactive ping tester and pricing plan, is available at

About WIN: WIN, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Communications Management Group, LLC, operates a 3,000 plus mile fiber optic network in Wisconsin and adjoining states, along with a data center at its Eau Claire, WI headquarters. Formed in 1997, WIN is owned by 31 independent telephone companies based in Wisconsin. Website:

NOTE: The name “WASD” is based on the four PC keyboard keys players typically use for character movement in online games: W=forward, A=left, S=back and D=right.

A New Look

Posted on September 28, 2010 - WIN News

With so many great services on the cutting edge of technology, we thought we needed a website that reflected and demonstrated our capabilities. Sure we’re proud of the new look, but what does it mean for you?

Streamlined Access to Our Services

Wondering what kind of services we offer? With our new site, you can find answers and solutions for your business in no time. Information on our Network, Data Center, Internet Services and IT Outsourcing is available at your fingertips.

Quick and Easy Quote Requests

Interested in one of our services? Fill out our quote form. With just a couple minutes of your time, we’ll have everything we need to provide you with an accurate estimate. We’ll respond quickly, so you can get the services you need sooner.

What do you think of our new website? Anything you’d like to see here? Let us know!