Internap builds Toronto access point for Canadian expansion

A U.S. developer of international private network access points plans to break into the Canadian market by creating a Toronto hub to lure high-tech companies, financial firms and online media organizations.

Atlanta-based Internap Network Services Corp. developed patented intelligent route control technology that allows it to become a de facto “traffic cop,” determining the fastest and best performing route across several backbones, said David Abrahamson, executive vice president of sales.

Internap is on track to finish building a Toronto access point later this year.

“I guess at the highest level, we bring performance and certainty to the Internet,” said Abrahamson.

Internap said it uses metrics important to customers —  including packet loss, latency (the time to get from Point A to Point B) and jitter (the standard deviation of latency) – to avoid congestion problems, performance degradations and outages.

At the same time, Internap has inter-connected all the main backbone providers so that a customer has access to four to eight networks rather than just one.

The company will initially hire in its Canadian operation three sales people, a pre-sales engineer to articulate its service to network engineers, and a customer accounts specialist.

“I’m very excited about it,” said Abrahamson. “Toronto is probably one of the top 10 (markets) in North America from a metro perspective. But, more importantly, the verticals that Internap has been hugely successful in, I think, lay down very nicely with Toronto. 

“One of our largest and most successful verticals is the financial markets because of their adoption of the Internet with online banking, financial trading, foreign exchange markets.”

Abrahamson described Toronto as an underserved market that’s ripe for the debut of Internap, which has had a sales force selling into Canada for the last year.

Internap has garnered more than 2,100 customers using more than 32 private network access points in regions like London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo and several U.S. cities. The company admitted to shifting Toronto to the “backburner” because customers had first demanded focus on the Asian market.

Internap anticipates no challenges in breaking into the Canadian market. It has experienced only “unique challenges” such as understanding tax laws in setting up a corporation on this side of the border, said Abrahamson.

The company already has Canadian customers using international network access points, including Belzberg Technologies Inc., which provides the software and networks that enable global, direct access routing and execution of trades for financial institutions in the U.S., Canada and Europe. 

Toronto-based Belzberg for two years has been tapping Internap’s private network access point in Chicago, said corporate controller David Evans. 

“When my IT guys come to me and say, ‘You know what, let’s go out and price out SBC,’ which is a competitor of Internap,” Evans said he always refuses because he knows his staff will never secure the same price.

“You can’t beat the reliability either,” Evans said. “And we’re in the trading business, meaning people executing shares. We do billions and billions of transactions a year. So if our Internet goes down in Chicago, our customers can’t trade. And we may as well pack up and go home.”

Belzberg plans to investigate whether Internap’s forthcoming Toronto access point is as reliable and competitively priced as its Chicago counterpart.

Internap counts the large ISPs such as Sprint, AT&T and MCI among its general competitors in this space.

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