Breaking ground with wireless

For the past three years Millennium Data Systems of Vaughan, Ont., has been trying to distinguish itself from other value-added resellers.

After looking into a variety of different areas to steer the company, it decided to turn to wireless network solutions in hopes of making a mark on this budding new market.

“We started putting capital into this and building a small infrastructure, and quickly realized there is a need for this service,” said Tony Di Benedetto, CEO of Millennium Data Systems.

“We put the network in place. It took two years to roll out with huge capital investment we funded ourselves.”

He wouldn’t reveal just how much but said “it’s in the millions.”

Millennium Data initially deployed the wireless network in its own neighbor-hood in Concord, just north of Toronto. From there the company starting building out its coverage zone.

Today, the network ranges from Niagara Falls to Peterborough.

Most recently, Millennium expanded its network coverage to include the area of Niagara-on-the-Lake, offering wireless IP solutions like high speed Internet access to approximately 16,000 residents and business owners.

Di Benedetto said once people leave the Greater Toronto Area, services like high speed Internet are not as common as many expect.

“The traditional telcos and cable companies simply don’t have the infrastructure in these areas to deliver high speed services or IP services because the infrastructure is so old,” he said.

Where a relatively small population is spread out over a wide area, Di Benedetto added, it doesn’t make financial sense for big IP providers to bring services into an area. In regions Millennium serves where the distances between businesses or homes can be three kilometres, telephone or cable would never see their money back, he said.

Hotel solution
Late last summer, Millenium Data Systems approached one southern Ontario business affected by the lack of wireless high speed Internet connectivity.

The Quality Hotel near Niagara Falls had been without an Internet services provider for years.

“It was a service we needed to offer,” said Mary McLellan, the hotel’s general manager. “To run hard lines through a hotel this size is an expensive venture, and wireless was perfect.”

Web access “is a requirement you’re finding with absolutely every franchise you’re dealing with,” she added. “The fact that its wireless makes it even better.”

For under $10,000 Mill-ennium Data enabled wire-less connectivity throughout the hotel, including its 120 rooms.

“It helps our business clientele, it’s a huge plus for them, its fast and efficient,” said McLellan.

The hotel has seen an increase in its corporate level clientele, she added, since the wireless installation.

Millennium Data “offer a service that hotels as well as the general public in the Niagara region need and they’ve executed it very well.”

To avoid red tape, Di Benedetto said his company builds and manages the entire network infrastructure is on its own with all services and solutions completed in-house.

“We have a whole team that understands targeted areas where we know services are required, we’ve implemented marketing and communication programs to make people be aware that these services are available,” he said.

“The build continues. This year our target is to put up 45 new towers in southern Ontario.”

In most cases, Millennium Data Systems acquires the land in order to deploy its towers.

“It’s a considerably different endeavor versus the VAR model – reselling someone else’s products and amalgamating with your services,” said Di Benedetto.

“In this respect we’re actually building infrastructure, very unlike what we’ve been accustomed to for 10-12 years.

“We actually own something in the ground that delivers back.”

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