RMIUG Meeting Minutes - ISP Fest '96
Alek Komarnitsky convened the meeting
at 7:00 at the NIST auditorium. Querying
the audience, about 1/2 of the approximately
85 people in attendance were there for the
first time. About 1/2 were on an RMIUG email
list. About 30% had personal web pages and
about 20% had their own domains.
The following announcements were made:
- Maxine Most, email@example.com,
449-8881, newly arrived from silicon valley
is interested in consulting in business
development and strategic marketing.
- Michael Rabb, firstname.lastname@example.org,
announced the ISDN Users group meeting
coming up in Denver. Information is available
by sending email to majordomo@ccid@org.
- Joe Biegelsen of Spatial Technology
Inc. announced that there is an job opening
for a person experienced with ActiveX
development. If interested send a resume
to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ed Allbright ,email@example.com is
looking for a web designer with excellent
computer skills, some LAN experience and
demonstrated success in web design. Fax
resume to 770-0494.
- Shelli Meyers announced that Indras
Net is looking for several part time technical
support persons. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There are several job openings at Compatible
Inc., a company making routers. See their
web site at www.compatible.com.
- Kim Logan announced the Boulder Daily
news site, www.bouldernews.com.
- It was announced that Lewan and Associates
is accepting donations of old PCs for
redistribution to charitable organizations.
Alek then introduced the panelists for
the Fall 1996 ISP Festival. Each was given
a few minutes to describe their services.
- Ted Pinkowitz, email@example.com,
for E.Central. Ted explained that ECentral
focuses on the moderate user, using less
than 20 hours per month. The are $7.95
per month for those 20 hours. ECentral
provides content, particularly the "Big
City-Small Planet" site hosting information
- Terri Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
for Eazy.Net. Terri noted that Eazy.Net
focuses on small (<50 employees) business
and business professionals. They provided
basic connections, ISDN and web-site design
- Shelli Meyers, email@example.com,
for Indra's Net. Shelli explained that
Indra's Net is a Boulder based ISP around
since 1994 and now has under 2000 dialup
accounts. They support individuals and
small and medium sized businesses, with
web development, hosting and marketing
consulting. They emphasize quality customer
- Brian Bostwick, firstname.lastname@example.org),
for Stonehenge. Brian noted that they
were a 6 year old company based on NovellNet
and have been doing internet business
for 2.5 years. They provide unlimited
access accounts and are moving towards
Intranets and LAN/Internet integration.
They plan to support 32.6-56K modems in
- Guy Cook, email@example.com, for
SuperNet. Guy showed the SuperNet's statewide
network map and briefly explained the
history of SuperNet's rise from a non-profit
to a for-profit organization owned by
the state of Colorado, operating for the
public good. He detailed their 155MBps
and 45 Mbps Internet connectivity and
their support of large organizations ike
Digital, US West, CU, etc. SuperNet has
over 10,000 dialup accounts ranging from
individuals to businesses. Guy noted that
SuperNet has over 22 machine rooms across
the state with about 700 modems. They
help build web sites and are consulting
across the US and internationally.
Alek then solicited and posed questions
to the 5 panels.
Q: Does it make sense for all "mom
and pop" businesses to have an internet
Q: Does hosting web sites slow down
an ISP's service? Are ISP's scaling up?
- Shelli(SM) - uncharted waters and it
depends on the business.
Terri(TR) - small businesses may use their
sites as an "intranet" within an industry.
Ted(TP) - some small business are pioneers
but may be preaching to the choir.
Brian(BB) - may be an alternative for
small ad budgets
Guy(GC) - Colorado is a techno-literate
society, web sites must have a reason,
e.g. cut production costs, etc.
Q: What is the "general" ratio of users
- GC: Constantly scaling up
BB: Some impact. ISP's must monitor and
SM: Scale up not just bandwidth but general
TR: ISP's have to keep up with demand.
Ask other people what they think of a
particular ISP's service.
Q: Do you support the Microsoft Front
Page editor/explorer? What other support software
do you provide?
- TP: Hard to answer because of pricing,
e.g. 1 ratio for unlimited access ISPs,
another when you have hourly charges.
TR: A rule of thumb: 5-1 is good, 10-1
is okay, 15-1 you can expect busy signals,
20-1 is not so good. Eazy.Net is less
SM: There are cycles. She noted "when
Star Trek comes on, the modem lights go
out." They now have 11-1 but it's a moving
BB: 15-1 right now but bringing in more
all the time.
GC: About 10-1. Watch other things like
CPU utilization and bandwidth. Note that
US West is concerned about the overall
telecommunications infrastructure strain:
a normal voice call averages 6 minutes,
while a data call averages 17 minutes.
The infrastructure was built for voice,
so there is lobbying for metering usage.
Q: Do you provide detail "hit" reports
of web service activity?
- GC: Yes, but beware it is not yet a
panacea for all web developers.
CSN provides standard user software.
BB: No, they are unix based. Provide basic
SM: No, you ftp to update web pages. Standard
TR: Yes, they are a Microsoft service
provider with NT servers supporting relational
TP: No, planned in 1997.
Q: Any plans for the deployment of
- Most providers do, with varying reporting
methods. There was an emphasis on protecting
the privacy of their users. Some noted
that "hits" are irrelevant.
Q: What about the cable modems?
- GC: ADSL is part of a family of asymetric
technologies, providing speeds of up to
6Mbps.* over a normal telephone wire --
but we have to watch USWest to see what
their rollout will be.
SM: Has heard some "unofficial results"
that ADSL degrades quickly. Very USWest
TP: Thinks USWest will move quickly into
Q: Do ISP's run identd?
- BB: Doesn't see it coming yet. GC:
Both ADSL and CM's can both succeed. 60%
of RBOC facilities are "ready" for ADSL
and 10% of cable facilities are cable
modem "ready". Environments will have
Q: Do any ISP's plan to filter email
from "junk emailers" like CyberPromotions?
- SM: identd is a server protocol for
looking up specific TCP/IP connections
and returning the user name of the process
owning the connection.
GC: generally no, but we run this protocol
on several machines because certain sites
on the Internet will not allow file transfers
All: We wish to protect the privacy of
their individual users.
Q: Where are pricing pressures going?
- TP: No, but provide tools for users
to filter themselves.
TR: They discourage all users from spamming.
Note that users pay to receive email,
while for surface mail, the sender pays.
SM: Send the "junk mailer" a bill for
using up their time and effort!
Q: Have ISP's seen a demand for "NetPhone"
- GC: Prices for connecting to the national
backbones are going up and are moving
to a usage pricing mode. The next generation
+ 1 will have clients pay for different
service levels depending on application
response time requirements.
TP: Pricing for users will come down as
more commerce happens, i.e. as the advertising
increases, the user prices will drop.
Q: A prediction has the small ISPs
will shortly become consultants. Comments?
- TP: Lots of marginal interest;
TR: Questions, but not much demand.
SM: Enthusiastic tryers but still not
BB: Video conferencing is starting to
come on strong.
GC: Note that Reed Hunt at the FCC is
not blocking voice on the Internet, trying
to keep the government out of it. The
Intranet has been built on top of the
Infrastructure, where what is coming is
the Infrastructure will be built on top
of the Internet.
Q: Are individuals getting the cold
shoulder on the web from ISPs?
- BB: There will be some consolidations
GC: There will continue to be more and
more IPS with no reason for the small
ISPs to go away. Some entrepreneurs will
tire of the ISP game.
SM: Small regional providers can provide
support that large organizations cannot.
TR: There may be some shakeout - "Internet
and Bagels!" - no longer the "money thing
to do}. "Some ISPs should be in the bagel
business!" -- and some users get their
first taste of the Internet from the bad
ones. There will always be a niche for
TP: Not much happening in a year. There
will be some consolidation as price pressures
- TP: No, web sites are free for individuals,
$10 for 1 Mbyte for a year.
TR: No. Personal web sites are free.
SM: Ditto. Note that some individual web
sites are more interesting than some of
the big fancy corporate sites.
GC: Note that individual accounts are
generally subsidized by the business accounts.
- TP: Micro transactions are coming where
you can buy something for a penny or two!
Along with it will come lots of opportunities.
TR: If you are looking for an ISP, find
someone who talks your language.
SM: The area consumers are lucky to have
a choice of several good ISPs.
BB: Ask around and shop around when looking
for an ISP.
GC: Ditto and thanks!
The meeting ended at 9:00.
Respectfully submitted, Art Smoot