David vs. Goliath?

The corporate history of Island Service Network is a valiant one. Started by Kevin O’Brien and a ragtag bunch of supporters, along with a loyal and ever-growing customer base, Kevin has, literally out of nothing, and with no Government money, created a successful, responsive Internet Service Provider from nothing.

In an environment where there are very few independent ISP’s left standing, ISN has survived and thrived. Kevin built the business on personal service, and has always stood behind it. His customers know that they can call 892-4ISN and ask to talk to Kevin, and he’ll take their call. This is unprecedented customer service for any business, and especially for the Internet business.

No matter where you are, as an independent ISP one of the Big Challenges you face is dealing with the telephone company.

The root of the challenge is that while one half of the telco is providing service to you — loads of incoming telephone lines — the other half is competing with you by offering Internet service of its own. This has been ISN’s challenge, and I’ve heard the same story from others, including, ironically, Downeast.net in Ellsworth, Maine, who have to compete not only with their local telco, Verizon, but also with Prexar, the oddly-named New England outpost of Aliant, Island Tel’s parent company. Prexar had its own dance of sucking up many independent ISP’s in Maine and New Hampshire in Borg-like fashion.

Kevin details his latest battle with Island Tel cum Aliant in a recent post on his website. Not one to “go public” with his frustrations until there is no other choice, Kevin relays the political and technical details of a problem which suggests that, at best, Aliant is being ungentlemanly and, at worst, they are behaving in a strongly anti-competitive fashion.

I would urge anyone from the Aliant family reading this to assist in bringing this matter to a quick closure. The Internet cannot work without cooperation, and the survival of ISN is too vital to the Island economy — to say nothing of the survival of Kevin and his employees and their families — to let “turf battles” prevent this.

I am willing to give Aliant the benefit of the doubt in this regard, and will assume that this entire issue is the result of a procedural or technical oversight on their behalf. If it turns out that the company is doing exactly what Kevin suggests they are doing — playing dirty ball — I’ll have no choice but to immediately terminate all of my Island Tel accounts, as I simply can’t conscience dealing with a company that doesn’t play fair.


Alan's picture
Alan on December 21, 2001 - 12:05 Permalink

Isn’t this the very example of why there is no “Island Tel” — the long deceased beloved tiny telco with neighbours (nay, surely elves) at every level — any more and that we are just dealing with a faceless division of BCE. I suppose it very much turns on the response. Accounts being readied for shifting here, too.

Rob's picture
Rob on December 21, 2001 - 15:07 Permalink

Well, beside the fact that I’d prefer to bundle my phone, cable, and internet and receive one bill (which I was going to do anyway), this is a perfect opportunity to “stick it to the Man”!

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on December 22, 2001 - 00:24 Permalink

While I agree that Prexar is an odd name, Aliant’s wackiest ‘partner’ names go to Stratos and Innovatia — they’re synergastic!

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on December 23, 2001 - 05:24 Permalink

I think their Deltaware partner deal is even odder — Symbiot, or Symbiont or something like that. BTW, as they are raising the question of IPs, would this be a good moment to dust off the press releases about that amazing GE, Deltaware, IslandTel deal and ask for an audit on how many of the promised jobs have materialised, how much of the $5m has been invested and where, and how well the deal has serviced the needs of government’s IT folks?