Mountain Area Information Network

About MAIN

History and Governance
Mission Statement
Editorial Policy
Fact Sheet

MAIN's Roots

In the tradition of the rural cooperatives that helped spread the reach of electricity in the 1930s, MAIN is one of the engines behind the modern expansion of Internet accessibility in western North Carolina.

When MAIN was launched in 1996, only two counties in western North Carolina were being served by commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs). As a non-profit ISP working with many local partners, MAIN now provides reliable, low-cost Internet service both in western North Carolina and nationwide.

MAIN owes its growth to strong support from the community, where thousands of people have eagerly embraced the opportunity to spend their Internet access dollars with a locally-controlled and accountable organization. Hundreds of our members have gone even further in their support of MAIN by donating their time and skills as volunteers or by supporting us in our fundraising efforts.

MAIN and its community

MAIN has earned this support through numerous community-based initiatives. Our home page is the portal of choice for WNC residents who want to stay connected through our calendar, local spotlights, link directories, news articles and more. MAIN also links to useful tools ranging from summer ozone alerts to winter school closings. And we have exciting plans to move MAIN into the realm of content production. MAIN's radio station, WPVM-LP (or, as it's locally known, MAIN-FM) produces much local content. MAINs web page,, is going to soon be the location of original reporting, in both visual and print formats -- with the same progressive focus on human rights and justice issues you've associated with MAIN since 1996.

As a full-service ISP, MAIN is able to provide free or reduced-cost web hosting services to businesses and non-profit organizations throughout our service area. As part of our mission to extend Internet access beyond the middle-class and wealthy, we also offer reduced-fee dial-up accounts to people in need of such help.

As the Internet changes, MAIN is changing too. We offer a professionally-staffed Help Desk to answer technical questions for our members. MAIN also offers spam and virus filtering, dialup acceleration, and national access. We are also offering high speed Internet access in some parts of our service area, with plans to expand that reach as soon as possible. And, of course, we take your privacy seriously, from our head-end access to the fastest portals to the Internet's backbone to your household.

You've read a lot lately about 'Net Neutrality' and its demise. The FCC has ruled, after a series of lower court rulings, that the big Internet services can accept payments from Netflix and other big firms to make sure their bits travel faster than yours. Once again, money talks. But MAIN has pledged to make every bit equal. Your email will be treated just like any other message, movie or web search. And we promise your search history will be secure.

MAIN is also the parent organization of IndyLink, a national dialup ISP that shares MAIN's committments to privacy, security and net neutrality. IndyLink has local access numbers nationwide.

Today at MAIN

MAIN continues its tradition of experimentation and technological development. We're partnering with the French Broad Food Coop and Riverlink in working on the development of Television White Spaces deployment for not-for-profits in hard-to-reach spaces. We're working with a number of not-for-profits to see that no school-age child in Buncombe County goes without broadband access. And we're writing grants to try to provide new audiences in outlying areas with broadband access. If you'd like to know more about our new board or interim executive director, just click here.

If you would like to know more about MAIN and all we have to offer, spend a few minutes exploring our Web site. Our subscribers are our best advocates - you can read a few of their comments. You can help us spread the word too, by including our banners on your own web site. You can find different versions here, here, or here.

You are always welcome to call us at (828) 255-0182 or (866) 962-6246 toll-free outside of Asheville. We look forward to getting to know you!