Ray Richards is founder of Mindspan Consultants and a technology journalist hailing from Ottawa, Canada

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Magma ISP Interview Part 2

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OC: So how has the transition gone since the purchase of Intranet?

Randy Byers: We completed the purchase August 20, and it's gone pretty well. We're almost done now migrating a lot of the equipment from the downtown Intranet location to here (ed.: Nepean) - there's been a couple of technical issues but those things always come up I guess.

OC: Yes I understand that you had some power difficulties...?

Randy Byers: Yes, there wasn't enough power to that location, so when we plugged a few more computers in the breakers blew... it's that simple.

Ron Ethier: At our head office we've got diesel generated power and a very high tech power management system that we just installed over the summer. So, by rapidly moving a fair amount of the hardware out of the downtown location, we got the load back to something manageable there and we still have capacity for growth here for quite a while.

OC: How many users does Magma have now?

Randy Byers: We're approaching 20,000.

OC: What would be the percentage of commercial users vs. residential accounts? I know that you were targeting commercial at the outset...

Randy Byers: Yes, we're still fairly heavy on the corporate side although I'm not exactly sure what the percentage is...

Ron Ethier: About 30-40 percent corporate. It's a very high amount for an ISP that plays both sides. There are some large companies that just handle commercial and others that just handle residential but for a regional ISP like us that does a bit of both our commercial percentage is very high.

OC: So do you find that the ISDN traffic on your system is higher than your standard dial-up?

Ron Ethier: We have a very large ISDN customer base as well but it's not dominating. ISDN never took off like I think everyone thought it would.

OC: So how much bandwidth do you have now? - Was this affected by the Intranet purchase?

Randy Byers: No, one of the key points of the purchase was the economies of scale. We had a certain amount of infrastructure and people etc. and were capable of supporting many more clients. So by taking on Intranet's clients we were able to take advantage of the economies of scale. We added a few people but no bandwidth.

OC: Has this affected you performance at all? I know that you have consolidated your news service to the one location... have you noticed any degradation?

Randy Byers: Not at all.

Ron Ethier: If anything, from an end user performance point of view, the old Intranet clients would see an increase.

OC: Why so?

Ron Ethier: They have been moved from their old system over to our high speed news server...

Randy Byers: From their T1 to our higher speed backbone...

Ron Ethier: Faster computers, faster servers, faster network.

OC: So, what's the story for Magma in the future?

Ron Ethier: With the purchase of Intranet, we now have points of presence in three cities: Ottawa, Montreal and Belleville so an avenue that we might explore is opening POPs in other locations and making the existing POPs as large as our presence in Ottawa. Also if the ADSL pilot in Ottawa works out as we expect it will, we'll roll out the service in Montreal as well.

Originally published in Ottawa Computes, January 1999, by technology columnist, Ray Richards.

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