Mark’s Work Wearhouse tries on TeraGo for size

Casual-clothing retailer Mark’s Work Wearhouse fired Telus in favour of TeraGo Networks to provide high-speed wireless broadband services for its Calgary headquarters.


is providing Mark’s with Ethernet Internet access to its corporate headquarters in Calgary. Mark’s uses TeraGo’s Internet access services provided over fixed wireless transmissions as a fibre-like alternative to DSL, fibre optic and T1 connections. The link was installed six months ago.

Up until 18 months ago, Telus had previously supplied Mark’s with its Internet feed. The retailer still uses Bell Canada to support its wide area network.

“”The real advantage, of course, is that (TeraGo is) almost transparent which, in my view, is what you want with vendors,”” said Mark’s IT director Monte McIntyre.

McIntyre said he cannot complain about his experience working with TeraGo. Although Mark’s experienced a “”minor hit”” in its service causing an outage, the carrier reacted quickly to resolve it, “”untypical of our other vendors.””

TeraGo informed Mark’s of the problem before McIntyre even noticed it, whereas the onus has been on the retailer to complain about power disruptions in its normal dealings with big carriers like Telus and Bell Canada, he explained.

“”Problems with our traditional telco hard-wired Internet that was obviously impacted a significant amount by the viruses and worms”” also motivated Mark’s to sign on for the services of a new broadband provider, he added.

Much of TeraGo’s effectiveness is due to its size, said McIntyre. “”Being with a large Bell is just very difficult at the best of times. TeraGo is a smaller organization. They still have hints of that entrepreneurial nature of a startup, which we consider to be very positive.

“”So they’re very reactive. It’s their primary business, and they’re not distracted by anything else. And, obviously, they have to try harder, being a new guy on the block . . .””

A self-professed “”Doubting Thomas”” of TeraGo’s ability to deliver its services quickly, Mark’s factored in an extra month into its project timeline. But the carrier didn’t need the additional time, in contrast to experiences with the retailer’s traditional vendors, McIntyre said.

Mark’s headquarters, which runs the main data centre for its retail outlets, is located in a river valley in the southeast corner of Calgary that hasn’t been conducive to typical telco connectivity. So most small organizations without the budget to install a high-speed link have worked with TeraGo, which has a significant install base in the area, to gain network access, he said.

McIntyre said TeraGo was also an ideal choice to provide a link between Mark’s main data centre and a second one that will be running before year’s end.

Bob Warburton, vice-president of sales and marketing for Richmond Hill, Ont.-based TeraGo Networks Inc., said the company’s appeal also lies in its ability to offer more bandwidth for less money than the traditional telephone companies — an average price advantage of about 20 per cent.

As well as high-end Internet services, TeraGo, which has 1,500 Canadian customers, said it experiences the lowest industry churn, losing less than one per cent of its customers compared to competitors publishing churn numbers that are “”well over that.””

TeraGo said it’s growing at nearly 100 per cent, accumulating new business customers at a 70 per cent rate compared to last year.

Although demand for bandwidth never met the expectations of forecasters in the late-90s, today the industry is still growing quite dramatically but is not as robustly as TeraGo’s expansion, said Warburton.

According to his research, it’s estimated that continuing demand translates to about 30 per cent annual growth in the market.

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