Member Rara Avis
Two of our domains (netpoets.net and poetry-magainze.com) are still with a company called TierraNet, at least for a few more weeks. At one time, netpoets.com was with them, too. San Diego based. Absolutely rock-solid in terms of always being up (in truth, all IPP's go down, I've just never seen it happen at Tierra). Like so many hosts, however, they do not allow telnet access. In fact, it's only been within the last two years they started supporting cgi beyond their own installed scripts.
When netpoets.com moved from TierraNet, we went with a hosting company called FutureQuest. Husband and wife team in Florida (near Orlando), who met while working for a big IPP and went out on their own. He's a techie and she's just a terrific lady. Their packages reflect their background and they have just about every possible technical tool you can imagine available, including Telnet access. FQ isn't as rock-solid as Tierra, partly because they give their clients enough power to bring down the servers, mostly because they themselves tend to run things on the bleeding edge. On the other hand, they do have an up-time guarantee (99% up-time or you pay nothing for the month) and, unlike other hosting companies, live up to it.
Bad side. Both of these companies put a "throttle" on netpoets.com when our traffic started increasing. Rather than charge me more or ask me to move, they installed software that artificially and purposely slowed down connections, thereby discouraging visitors from staying at Passions. Tierra never admitted to it, FQ told me about it up front. I've since discovered this is fairly standard practice in the industry. All hosts price their packages on the supposition that the "average" usage of the machine will be substantially less than they promise is available to everyone. And their gamble usually pays off. When a site like netpoets.com comes along, it kinda throws the average out the window.
Those are the only two I could personally recommend, but I know of quite a few others from people at the UBB and at VP. FWIW, several of my friends over at VP have moved to FQ based on my recommendations and have been very happy. A friend you and I once had in common is at Tierra.