Press Release: Digilink - Client: Digilink ISP - Date: February 2003

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Bob Atkins CEO, Digilink.

Its no coincidence that ISP Digilink is a true industry survivor. While many of its bigger competitors flounder, losing millions annually. Digilink is the proud backbone of uninterrupted service since 1994, Why? Ask CEO Bob Atkins

Bob’s businesses eye and technical intuition are the backbone of Digilink’s success as a technically aware, cost effective operation, devoted to zero latency and high-level customer service.

Unlike other ISP’s run by venture capitalists, Digilink is founded and run by people such as Bob who cut their teeth networking the very earliest computer technologies. Bob and his employees were weaned in an environment where technologies were operated and networked through analysis and intellectual process rather than simply blocked together Leggo style, like much of today’s web technologies

Bob Atkins has a diverse background relative to the science of information technology. This technical focus extends to tertiary level qualifications in both electrical engineering and computer science, leading to careers as both a software engineer/programmer and networking specialist.

Born in Long Island New York and schooled in Malta in the late 1960’s, Bob Atkins graduated High school at the tender age of 15. Attracted to the "entertaining" and interesting world of computers, Bob subsequently graduated from the strict and predictable world of electronics to major in Electrical engineering with a Computer Science minor at the University Of New Mexico.

Frustrated with the limitations of the curriculum and its redundant equipment, Bob dropped out after first year pursued assorted vocational schools, learning basic IBM programming and obtaining other significant IT skills. This educational background led Bill to his first "real" job in IT or rather computer science as he so eloquently describes it.

"I started my career with developing an understanding of these basic and early technologies and learning what makes them click. My career up until the late eighties was mainly involved with marrying software with hardware to acquire and move data, to move onto environments where human beings could not gain access."

Bob says the majority of his career has been devoted to the process of cobbling things together where software solutions and tools didn’t exist. Using his intellect to ascertain how things should work, he sought to understand the challenges to technology and how to overcome them.

He has since worked on a range of projects that have helped him cultivate a vast knowledge and understanding of the IT industry and its practices. His experience spans, everthing from multiple systems networking, through to testing satellites and thermal vacuum chambers. He also has a keen interest in aeronautical mechancs with additional businesses devoted to engine water cooling R&D and spare part manufacture.

One of Bob’s earliest projects in the 1980’s tackled the issue of providing technical infrastructure and support for one of the largest data acquisition programmes then in existence for the US Air Force, involving use of the Kessel Programme for IT specialist, Dine Electron.

While undertaking the project as a computer programmer, Bob collaborated with a team of electrical engineers, learning much about networking early computer systems including PDP 1134’s to PDP1170’s. He also developed a file transfer protocol and various intercomputer networks from scratch. As the project expanded beyond one site to various remote sites, fiber optic cables were in turn laid by the Air force to distant facilities. Bob and his team were in turn required to develop and institute software drivers to link the fiber and ensure the existence of a safe and dependable data channel.

Bob later moved from the government sector into the commercial world, gaining employment with information systems specialist, Terradata, who were later bought by communications giant, AT&T. In this environment, Bob was assigned to a team of 25 staff responsible for fully automating over 1000 Unix based systems, responsible for eliminating lengthy manual set up times.

Bob became interested in using the Internet as communications tool in late eighties, while working at Los Alamos International labs. There he would download source code and compile and doodle alpha versions.

."I was able to download data from various machines simultaneously and coalesce these into one page, which I found exciting." As the web matured, Bob was one of the first to experience the worldwide wait, while working at AT&T. He grew to understand the significance of bandwidth. "Back then a 56 Kb connection was considered a luxury which is the only technology available to service a network of over 1000 nodes. 28.8 modems were not in use 14.4 were the highest grade available."

"Intrigued by the subject, I discovered the ISDN interface, which meant 128Kb of digital telephony, without a modem I realized this tool could transform the Internet into something workable, narrowing latency rates by about one tenth, from 250 milliseconds to about 20."

" I realized the medium was going to be huge and got an understanding of what was required to bring the technology from the Techworld of engineers and geeks to the everyday consumer".

Bob then entered the world of web consulting and connecting businesses to the Internet. This in turn led to trouble shooting and technical support for various ISP networks. He realized that providing a full service other than a simple connection had to involve the provision of his own service. Bob subsequently formed Digilink in March 1994, opting for ISDN technologies and challenging the then status quo of ISP’s using dial up services to access the web.

Bob confides his central philosophy, "Digilink is essentially the culmination of all of the knowledge and experience I gathered over the years blended into an operation that ensures maximum uptime, maximum integrity and the most efficient use of equipment and bandwidth physically possible. Its not just about building something, but about ensuring that what is built is sturdy enough to remain operational and standing up."

Like technology’s rapid growth and evolution, Digilink has since grown into a profitable operation, outshining and outlasting many competitors. With X turnover annually, Digilink has a portfolio of some x customers, including major corporates such as XYZ.

Written by Craig Stephens

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