The History of ClarkNet
"In 1989, I began my Masters degree in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University," reminisced Jamie Clark, a graduate of the Maryland School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. "In a course I was taking in summer of 1992, our goal for the course project was to set up a windowing interface with the Internet. We had to outline what the requirements were to set up such an interface and discovered that no providers at that time offered one - an idea was planted in my head," Mr. Clark went on. After graduating in the summer of 1992, having successfully developed the requirements for a windowing interface in his course, he joined an Internet Service provider to get a shell account. "I was frustrated with the service. I realized that I could set up my own company and provide better service than I was getting from this other provider AND I could offer more options. Knowing this, I decided to go ahead and set up my own company. I asked my Dad if we could use his old dairy barn, which was not being used for milking anymore, and he agreed to let me have it for my hobby. I investigated various Internet providers, such as UUNET, PSI and SprintLink; I decided to contract with SprintLink at the end of 1992 for a 56K leased line connection. Then I negotiated for a loan from Columbia Bank in early 1993, and we bought our first Sun server, Sun SparcClassic, the heart of our network. We received this server in March and began configuring it, while waiting for the 56K to come in, which finally arrived in early April. It took about 3 weeks to set up the server and our first customer logged on in the evening of April 30, 1993. We were officially in business on May 1, 1993 and we have been providing access to the Internet ever since!"
Starting an Internet business in a barn in Ellicott City is the logical place to begin for Jamie Clark, the descendent of many generations of farmers in Howard County. He can name one of the Ellicott brothers, who founded Ellicott City in 1772, and the Clark family, who founded the town of Clarksville in 1797, among his ancestors. Also among Jamie's famous family members is the brother of Johns Hopkins, the founder of Jamie's alma mater. Jamie's family began living in what is now known as Howard County when the area was still a part of Anne Arundel County. His Grandfather, James Clark, was a Circuit Court Judge in Howard County and his father, James Clark, Jr., was a State Senator for 24 years with 4 of those years as President of the Senate. Jamie's father is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Clark Internet Service. Jamie has deep roots in the Howard County community and is proud to be one of the areas up and coming entrepreneurs.