As some ArgoNet customers are starting to find out from the letters hitting their doormats, the RISC OS friendly ISP is finally closing it's doors. But as we all know from our Ancient Greek legend studies, the original Argonauts were helped out by a chap called Orpheus. We have an exclusive interview with the head honcho at Orpheus Internet, who should be familiar to many ArgoNet subscribers already...
Yes, it's Paul Vigay, who for the past six years has been handling ArgoNet support. And setting up the interview wasn't exactly hard, as he sits across the office. Well, for now anyway.
TIB: Why is ArgoNet closing?
PV: That's not really my decision, but was made by Freedom2, as they are focusing their attention on the core focus of their business in the education sector. I guess they felt that ArgoNet no longer fitted in with their primary business agenda. You could always ask them the same question?
(The CEO is away on honeymoon the week the letters went out ? Ed.)
TIB: Why didn't you buy ArgoNet?
PV: There was never really an option to actually buy ArgoNet, as the original plan was to transfer ownership to me, so that I would carry on running the company as ArgoNet, but as a self-contained company separate and independent from Freedom2. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach a mutually agreeable path on which to move forward with the transfer, so Freedom2 took the decision to wind down ArgoNet over the following six months, allowing me to approach and transfer the existing customers.
TIB: Why go to all the trouble of starting from scratch?
PV: Mainly because I have faith that there is a viable space in the market for an independent, friendly and above all, knowledgeable ISP to cater for all types of user from beginners to experts alike. I receive so many phone calls from people who want a friendly voice to speak to when they need support. One who doesn't assume they're using the latest or only version of Windows, and above all, one who has patience to guide them through any problems they have.
I also think there is a demand for an internet company who can offer a complete solution, whether it's email provision, dialup or ADSL connectivity, web hosting, domain registration and technical support, right through to actual web design and creation if customers require it - something which ArgoNet (and many other ISPs) haven't offered in the past. A complete solution for everyone, whatever your needs or expertise level.
In the last couple of years, ArgoNet occasionally suffered the odd glitch, partially due to the original way the system was setup and partially due to lack of focused development and improvement. By building a new infra-structure from scratch we can ensure that the entire system and servers are built to our specific requirements for maximum reliability and ease of configuration and future expansion. From my background in the internet industry I've been able to call upon some of the best, highly skilled people in order to build the new team to move us forward. It's a small team, but each of us has expertise in differing areas, meaning that together we have a world-class knowledge base.
TIB: So what happens to ArgoNet customers?
PV: Initially, nothing. It's business as usual as far as email and internet connection are concerned. As subscribers accounts come up for renewal, I'm hoping they will switch to our new ISP, which I've registered as "Orpheus Internet Services Ltd" (check) - I'll leave the reader to work out any subtle storyline there... and gain the benefits we can offer them, including a more competitive pricing structure which will give the average subscriber quite a substantial saving over existing ArgoNet prices. I'm hoping to contact people individually to discuss their requirements, but in the meantime they can whiz over to http://www.vigay.com/isp/ and register their interest.
TIB: What can customers of Orpheus expect?
PV: My first priority is to get a reliable system up and running so that we can migrate any existing customers over to the new system. We're going to implement full spam and virus filtering to the email system, which ArgoNet subscribers will hopefully have noticed over the past few months. I also aim to offer "out of office hours" technical support because I realise that people don't always run into problems between 9 and 5. My new team is passionate about the internet and the exciting new technologies appearing all the time, so we have several projects planned for the coming year, so keep an eye on the new website - http://www.orpheusinternet.co.uk for announcements.