Cygnal credits survival to focus on building networks

The president of Cygnal Technologies Corp. believes a tight focus and constant evolution among service providers have kept his company busy despite an overall slowdown in the telecommunications sector.

Oshawa, Ont.-based Cygnal designs, integrates and manages telecom networks for service providers and direct business customers. The company is responsible for both Wal-Mart Canada Corp.’s voice-messaging network and Bell ExpressVu’s uplink facility. Cygnal president and CEO Doug Young said demand from service providers has been consistently strong.

“Cable companies have to keep upgrading their networks; telecom companies are going through the same sort of process,” Young said. “Utility companies are just coming into the (data traffic) business. They have all the poles, access to every home in the country.

“The space we’re in is very active. While there is a general slowdown, we have focused all our resources on just building networks.”

On Tuesday, Cygnal announced a $4 million contract with Hydro-Quebec to supply and integrate fibre optic equipment in more than 300 sites in the utility’s telecommunications network.

The upgrade is meant to minimize service interruptions and bring the service level of Hydro- Quebec’s secondary and rural distribution centres up to that of the utility’s primary facilities.

“They had good monitoring in some of their systems, but not all,” said Darin Gibbons, director of Cygnal’s utilities division. “It (the upgrade) allows them to penetrate monitoring of the network further and to minimize outages before they happen.”

Gibbons said modern, cost-effective equipment makes feasible an upgrade that will allow Hydro-Quebec to detect faults on the hydro-electric grid and reroute energy correspondingly.

Cygnal’s network, to be built over the next three years, will also carry telephony, data and Internet traffic to the company’s facilities in more remote regions in Canada and the United States.

The deal with Hydro-Quebec comes on the heels of two large contracts Cygnal announced in the summer. In July, the company secured a $4.5 million contract to build a fibre-optic network for Enersource Telecom to help Mississauga-based Enersource deliver new services to local customers. That announcement came just 11 days after Cygnal landed a $12 million contract to build the Simcoe Community Access Network (SCAN), a fibre-optic community network connecting an estimated 250 sites.

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