Internet access should be as easy as switching on an electric light or plugging into a phone socket, says Auckland ISP Attica Communications, instead of the chore and expense it has become for many companies.
Attica and Cisco Systems have been working together to develop in-building dedicated lines for customers.
"It took us a while to work out just how to do it," says Attica director Wayne Toddun, "so that every network was held separately on the same line. But now we've got it right and we're negotiating with building managers."
Once Attica installs its dedicated lines in a building, tenants pay a fixed monthly fee and have access to a dedicated high-speed digital network service via a socket on their wall.
"There is no need to purchase or lease network hardware or firewalls, or lease costly dedicated circuits, or hire staff to look after the system," says marketing and business development manager Iain Stewart.
Every tenant has access to a 10Mbit/s datastream LAN connection, with a guaranteed minimum speed of 2Mbit/s each.
Building managers can be fairly conservative when it comes to new developments, says Toddun, and when Attica approached the manager of its own building, Shortland Towers in Auckland, "we were just asked to give them the details in writing". Three days later, though, the deal was done. "It doesn't cost the building anything - we take the risk in putting it in. But we need to have their agreement and we need them to help us sell the service to their tenants," he says.
One of Attica's first clients was barrister Geoffrey Cone, who is based in Shortland Towers and had been using a dial up Ihug connection. "Access is just so much easier and quicker, and it's not much more expensive," he says. With up to a third of his correspondence arriving via email, Cone says he could no longer afford to dial in at odd times to pick up mail. "Email is sort of like a conversation, and people expect a reply more or less immediately."
Toddun is now in negotiations over another building in High Street, Auckland, which has the right demographic for the service. "We have to look at who is in a building and whether they'd be interested," he says. Smaller companies who have been struggling with dial up modems are among their ideal customers, he says.
Early next year, Toddun and Stewart plan to expand the service they can offer.
"We can offer virtual private networks, Web hosting services, ASP provision - and IP telephony," says Stewart.
Attica is already negotiating with two software developers on potential ASP offerings, an accounting package and a file back up service.
Attica will target the CBDs of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton. Prices range from $98 to $2500 a month ex GST, depending on the access speed.