Business

Kendall heads statewide ISP organization

"From his small office off Bay Shore Drive, Jim Kendall has a view of Dyes Inlet, a faint smell of the sea and access to the whole world.Kendall is the the owner of Telebyte NW, an Internet services provider (ISP) in Silverdale, and was recently appointed president of the Washington Association of Internet Service Providers for the second year in a year in a row. It's always fun to have a product that people really want, Kendall said. When Kendall started Telebyte NW back in 1994, not many people outside of the computer industry had heard of the Internet. Kendall himself knew little of it until he looked into putting up an electronic bulletin board for the computer store he was working at in Bremerton.I heard about it and it was a really big bulletin board, Kendall said.He started Telebyte NW on his own, the first independent Internet provider in Kitsap, and started to see profit after the first year. Since its inception, Kendall has brought on six full-time and two part-time employees, bigger bandwidths and some status outside the office.WAISP was formed in 1997 to counter the city of Tacoma's efforts to tax ISPs. It managed to defeat the tax and WAISP formed officially, becoming a powerful lobby in the state Legislature. WAISP has 50 members who serve more than 700,000 Internet users throughout Washington. Kendall believes the smaller ISPs can offer the kind of service larger providers cannot. The big corporations can't service because they have no one on the ground, Kendall said. We really represent the end user.Kendall says his biggest competition is not from rival Internet providers, however, but from the phone companies. Until recently, Silverdale was the only area in Kitsap where all county calls were local (excluding Bainbridge Island), which is why so many Internet providers are located in Silverdale. Kendall's bone to pick with phone companies is a big one and is the result of Kendall trying to upgrade his services. With three different providers in four areas of Kitsap County, providing a consistent service that relies on phone lines can be frustrating. That's why Kendall is excited about wireless Internet. A wireless Internet provider would transmit a signal, much like a radio, that would reach consumers via a satellite dish. All Kendall needs, he said, is a clear line of sight to the customer. If the customer happens to be behind a hill or house, it would be beamed around to them with the help of other dishes and antenna. It would eliminate ground wires and Kendall's problem with the phone companies.It's not the future, it's today, Kendall said. Paying for both the future and today is not cheap, though. Behind phone companies, Kendall said his biggest challenge is keeping up with the latest and greatest software and paying for it.After a crash-course demonstration on a dry erase board about where Internet was, is and will be, the costs seem steep and confusing. Even I still get confused, Kendall said. Besides fighting for the indy ISP, Kendall is at work trying to make the Internet more family- and user-friendly. His group supports a ban of unsolicited advertising through e-mail and a crackdown on forgeries and deception in advertising. He is also organizing a safety course in June for parents about the Internet and their children.The Internet skipped a generation. Kids know more about it than their parents do, Kendall said. Parents don't know what's out there.And while Kendall seems to know what's out there for Telebyte NW, he's keeping it to himself for now.We have a couple other things in the works as well, Kendall said, leaning back in his chair. But I can't tell you about those yet."

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