Illuminati Online was a free access BBS in Austin, Texas, USA originally created by Steve Jackson Games to promote the game Illuminati!. It eventually grew into a commercial ISP, io.com, by first selling individual services (like POP mail) to customers.

Way back in 1988, the BBS was a 286-based PC using DoubleDos to allow both administration and the BBS to carry on at once. It used a custom BBS package called "JoeNet" until 1990, when they implemented WWIV. In '88 and '89 they had a great deal of trouble with POTS modems due to the fact that the system ran entirely on donated hardware. In spite of that, they managed to take 40,000 calls in a week with a 2400 bps modem, a big deal for BBSes of the day.

Kenneth S. Jackson bought the assets of io.com and formed IOCOM, a full-fledged commercial ISP which not only provides user services, but also hosting and colocation.


References:

  1. About IOCOM. IOCOM. (http://www.io.com/abt_history.html)
  2. Old BBS News. Illuminati Online. (http://www.io.com/systemnews/1988-1990/old.bbs.news.html)

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