Archive for February, 1998

Web Watch – Hawaii’s Internet Service Provider Web Sites

February 1, 1998

There is nothing tougher (aside from grandma’s holiday pound cake) than trying to select an Internet Service Provider here in Hawaii. With over 20 local ISPs on Oahu alone, as well as a constantly changing rate and price package standard across the board, the market could get as confusing as your VCR.

So what do you do? Pay a personal visit to each provider’s “office”? Call them up, one by one with your questions about TCP/IP connectivity? No, of course not! You go to a friend’s house, local Internet cafe, et al, and punch up their representative World Wide Web site for the latest and greatest information on why you should be choosing their service over the other providers.

What you should be looking for depends on your computer use and experience. It could range from a strictly price standpoint (who has the cheapest monthly rates) to a performance one. You may also want to know how the ISP’s technical support is and/or what other services is included in the plan. Most of the web sites provide this information in plain English. No stuffy office, no telephone horror. Just you and your mouse.

Let’s get cracking on some of the more prevalent Internet Service Provider’s home pages and some of the more interesting things you can find there.

http://www.aloha.net/
Perhaps the most successful web site originally branching from an ISP is Planet Hawaii (http://www.planet-hawaii.com/), a concoction of local provider GST Hawaii OnLine. This web site, complete with flower prints, rubber slippers and an Aloha shirt gives you the real feel of being in Hawaii. In addition to the Planet Hawaii site (whose current features includes stories on legendary surfer Eddie Aikau, local superchefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong and a 16-part Real Audio special on King Kamehameha), the HOL web site has in-depth help pages/files and an online signup form under “Subscriber Services” and company history, employment opportunities and contact information under “Inside Hawaii OnLine.”

http://www.lava.net/
LavaNet’s web site won’t win any design awards, but it is by far, the most complete. Partitioned into 4 main categories: “Services and Rates,” “Technical Support,” “The LavaNet Web” and “About LavaNet,” you are sure to find the answer to any of your burning Internet-related questions. And if you don’t, LavaNet invites you to “Ask Lavadude” (ask-lavadude@lava.net). For those gamers out there, they also have a dedicated Quake Server (volcano.lava.net) and online instructions on how to set things up.

http://www.pixi.net/
Pacific Information eXchange, Inc.’s web site is also a thorough one with online tech support, services and announcements sections, among others. It also provides links to numerous online sources covering many topics, helping to bring the vast Internet quickly and easily to you. You can even sign up online using their secure form.

http://www.hawaii.rr.com/
With a slightly different approach with their web presence than the other providers, Oceanic Internet uses the successful infrastructure of providing a sense of community for the visitors for their new Road Runner cable modem service web presence. This site provides links to local information in categories such as “Sports & Recreation,” “Arts & Entertainment,” “Food & Dining,” and “Finance/Business.” One of the more popular sections on the Road Runner site is the site called “Streaming Media,” which features streaming audio and video files optimized for speedy cable connections. If that’s not enough, a Quake server has also just been implemented and is ready for use.

http://www.maui.net/
Maui Net also seems to take the content approach seriously. If you do not know, or do not look hard enough, you probably can’t even tell that this page is one from an ISP. With heavy emphasis on a “What’s on Maui” section, complete with an information booth, Maui accommodations information, marketplace and Maui Real Estate sections, among others, this web site places it’s focus on the page as a service, not a utility. Maui Net also provides online signup over a secure server.

http://www.interpac.net/
From the Big Island, Inter-Pacific Networks’ web site is beaming with the “Aloha” spirit. Complete with a clock showing local time, this site seems to welcome you with a maile lei and a smile. There is a “Virtual Village,” online guestbook, info & services section as well as user help desk.

There is an abundant number of other web sites to sift through in order to find what you are looking for, but to help you out, http://islestyle.com/isps/ has developed a breakdown of most of the local providers, as well as national providers servicing the Hawaiian Islands.

And remember, not choosing an Internet Service Provider carefully is like a box of chocolates…

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Oceanic Internet’s Road Runner Breaks the Web Wait

February 1, 1998

Imagine visiting an Internet web site with a complete set of links, organized by category. How about a web site with the latest in local and national news? What if this very web site brought you the latest and greatest in streaming multimedia right to your desktop.

Now, imagine it all coming from your friendly neighborhood Internet Service Provider. An ISP? Well, not exactly.

The new Road Runner service, brought to you by Time Warner and Oceanic Internet, is not exactly your traditional dial-up ISP. Based on the high-speed, broadband principle, Oceanic Internet utilizes a hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network infrastructure to push the “connectivity” envelope. Speeds and potential are far greater than what can be accomplished over a twisted copper pair.

To take full advantage of the cable network, Darin Sato, Oceanic Internet Web Editor designs the Road Runner web site (http://www.hawaii.rr.com/) with high quality graphics, streaming media (video and audio) and other high-bandwidth content in mind. “Because of our bandwidth, we can offer higher quality multimedia as opposed to dial-up. An example of this is how we can provide CD quality audio files to our subscribers rather than ‘boxy’ 28.8, mono clips.”

I asked Sato how he went about structuring a web site for these “speedy” Road Runner subscribers. “Because Road Runner is part of an island-wide WAN, performance on the network is very fast. You don’t have to deal with the actual Internet when on the network. Therefore, our goal is to create as much content within the Road Runner site as we can.”

By just browsing the web site, you can see how they are moving towards that goal. In addition to providing robust local content (web site links, features, etc.) and national content (Time Warner services like CNN, People, and Sports Illustrated) that can be found nowhere else, the Road Runner site offers personalization features such as account management and software update features. Other “in-house” services of Road Runner include an official TUCOWS affiliate (mirror) site for Hawaii (http://tucows.oceanic.com), streaming news video clips from KITV4 and KHON, streaming audio stations via Music Choice, and even a dedicated Quake game server.

Sato, however, does not want to let up. Although backed by more content then he can shake a cable modem at, he wants to keep pushing this web site until the rich content and user-friendly feel is complete. “Road Runner 2.0 will be optimized for multimedia and will focus on creating a tighter integration between local and national content.”

With well over 1,000 subscribers in its first few months of operation, it seems as though the new Road Runner cable modem service from Oceanic Internet is a hit. Credit this to their high-bandwidth network, helpful technical support staff and especially their World Wide Web site.