Customers in northeastern Ontario may know it best as a local telephone and long-distance service provider. But more and more it is becoming recognized as one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of high-speed telecommunications access in Northern Ontario. With O.N. Telcom, the world is wide open to residential and business customers.
Founded in 1902 and known as O.N. Tel prior to Sept. 18 of this year, O.N. Telcom has done much more than simply change its name.
The new name reflects the company's expansion to provide the best in communication needs to business and residential customers ready to tackle a global economy.
O.N. Telcom has grown from a traditional phone service company into a full-service telecommunications firm with roughly 200 employees.
"In the past, we were basically an extension of Canadian telecommunications network in the North," Brian Wheeler, vice-president of O.N. Telcom, says. "We've become more of a business partner with our customers to help them make better use of benefit from the technology."
And it is this improved use of technology that will put Northern Ontario businesses and residents on the same technological map as their counterparts in southern Ontario.
"We provide a lot of very advanced technological services to Northern Ontario," says Scott Mannering, O.N. Telcom's director, business strategies and information technology solutions.
"Because of our partnerships, we can duplicate - and in some cases exceed - some offered in southern Ontario."
O.N. Telcom is front and centre in the technological revolution. Its technology partners include IBM, Cisco Systems and Lucent Technologies, and together they have assembled a powerful array of products and services to deliver business in Northern Ontario to the next level.
With varied services such as local and long distance phone service, custom voice, data and video networks station development, e-commerce and e-business applications, custom programming, network management and PC application server installation to name a few, O.N. Telcom can provide a wide host of solutions to customer needs.
"We're kind of unique for a business in Northern Ontario," Mannering says. "We offer a wide range of products all together from our company to meet a wide range of customer needs. We have the latest and greatest in some of the e-business and data services. It's like a one-stop shop."
Becoming an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in North Bay and throughout northeastern Ontario was the catalyst for O.N. Telcom's diversified telecommmunications initiatives.
Today, O.N. Telcom is Northern Ontario's largest ISP and the only service provider in 15 of the 130 communities it serves, Mannering notes.
In the last 10 years O.N. Telcom has accelerated its technological advances. The company has an extensive fibre optic network, certified as a utilizing Cisco Powered Network, and services range northward to Moosonee and Moose Factory and can link Local Area Networks to Wide Area Networks.
Most notable is O.N. Telcom's partnership with services of North Bay Hydro, Sault Ste. Marie PUC and Sudbury Hydro Inc. to provide customers with high speed data services within the respective communities.
In North Bay, O.N. Telcom has installed and is now maintaining a 20-kilometre, high-speed fibre-optic telecommunications network on North Bay Hydro's distribution system.
In Sault Ste. Marie, O.N. Tel has an agreement to install and maintain a 60-kilometre, high-speed fibre-optic telecommunications network.
O.N. Telcom's ATM service is one product that operates on these fibre optic communications networks. ATM service allows customers to combine their telephone and all voice, data and video traffic onto the same high-speed network.
ATM is a high-performance, multiprotocol networking technology that is faster and more powerful than any networking technology currently available in the North. ATM supports a wide range of applications to enable customers to save significantly on their telecommunications costs.
The new service gives customers virtually unlimited bandwidth and incredible power for sharing information across their Wide Area Networks.
O.N. Telcom's clients are as diverse as the company itself. From the education and health sectors to the corporate environment, O.N. Telcom can accommodate information technology needs.
Information technology (IT) solutions can offer e-business planning and consulting services in addition to mid-range IBM computer systems and fully supported application software as part of a total-solution approach to individual business requirements.
Through their affiliation with IBM and other software vendors, O.N. Telcom delivers a wide variety of software applications to meet most business demands.
"To assist businesses, we will start with technological strategic planning," Mannering says. "We will assist (businesses) with finding appropriate applications software selections and implement them."
While O.N. Telcom's new expansions may seem business-oriented, residential customers will benefit too.
"'We find business tends to drive new technology," Mannering says. "We learn from what we deliver to the business community how to provide new and innovative services to residential (customers)."
"We've just announced a whole suite of new long-distance service plans, some as low as $7.50 a month," Tom Caldwell, O.N. Tel's director of Advanced Networks, says.
"We are a still a long distance monopoly in our traditional serving areas, so we're always striving to provide customers with the best possible rates," Caldwell adds.
O.N. Telecom operates local telephone service in Moosonee, Moose Factory, Temagami, Marten River, Lake Temagami and Iroquois Falls. Long-distance service is available in many areas from North Bay to Timmins, including Hearst, Moosonee, Moose Factory and various centres along the James Bay coast.
Cellular service is also offered in Moosonee and Moose Factory, including roaming service, which was activated in 1998.
O.N. Telcom is committed to further expansion and to providing the best complement of voice, data and video telecommunications, high speed networks, application software and services in Northern Ontario.
The company is excited about the future and the capabilities new technology will bring to businesses and residents in the North.
"We will continue to look at new, innovative solutions for our customers. We are building all the time," Caldwell says.
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|Title Annotation:||O.N. Telcom|
|Publication:||Northern Ontario Business|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2000|
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