Vision keeps online firm running ahead of the pack

Up & Coming:
1204 West St., Wilmington

Internet address:

Full-time employees: 28

What it does: Regional Internet services company offering Internet access and Web-related services.

Annual sales: Estimated at $10 million

What panel members said: "They're very insightful at seeing the future."

Staff reporter

Keith Duncan had his eye on the emerging Internet long before the rest of the world signed on.

As a doctoral student studying the sociology of technology at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s, he saw how useful the Internet was to academics. He envisioned it soon would be an essential tool for business.

In 1994, Duncan launched the company known today as DCANet, connecting people throughout the region to the Internet and helping them design and use Web pages.

Since its humble beginnings, netting just a few hundred thousand dollars, DCANet has grown 1,400 percent and now sees annual sales nearing the $10 million mark.

"We had an idea the Internet was going to go commercial and we got in early and we have experienced the kind of growth the Internet has drawn," said Duncan, the company's president and CEO.

Labor market information analyst Ed Simon of the state Department of Labor said DCANet's success is likely to continue as more businesses grow to consider the Internet an essential tool.

"Since DCANet got into this business ahead of the curve, they should be experts on how technology has changed," Simon said. "And as it changes, they're in a great position to know what needs to be done in adopting new technologies."

DCANet president and CEO Keith Duncan anticipated the importance of the Internet as a tool for business.
While some other local Internet companies have folded or merged, DCANet has surged ahead. Duncan, 41, said it has done so on the strength of quality of service.

"They are definitely ahead of the curve," said Rob McCord, president and CEO of the Eastern Technology Council, a regional support network for technology companies. "The future for this kind of company is especially bright."

In the future, Duncan sees a role for his company in the world of high-speed, broadband Internet access, where users will need only a simple computer to connect with an online world, where they'll use applications such as calendars, games and word-processing programs.

"We are providing the highway," Duncan said of the information superhighway. "And we'll continue to do that, but we're also going to be aggressive about providing other services that use the highway."

Reach Stacey Tiedge at 324-2863 or


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