Bullet point briefing: Tristan Goguen, ILAP


Internet Light and Power (ILAP) Inc. provides Web access, hosted data centre and an assortment of network services to Canadian businesses.

The Toronto-based company’s chief executive officer, Tristan Goguen, has seen plenty of changes in the 15 years that ILAP has been in business. Unlike the incumbent telecommunications carriers, ILAP acts as a “broker” of access services, providing about 4,500 companies with either copper, fibre or point-to-point wireless.

Goguen recently sat down with Network World Canada and talked about the various Internet access technologies and his company’s quality uninterrupted bandwidth (QUB) service.

What makes ILAP different

Internet Light and Power differentiates itself by acting as a broker of Internet services.  What clients are starting to do is they’re buying services rather than buying (directly from) carriers. They’re looking for access sometimes in different geographical areas. The carriers won’t always go to those particular areas. They sometimes want path diversity. They will need to get access from multiple carriers. We have a very large roster of service providers in a given location and we are able to recommend the appropriate carriers.

On quality uninterrupted bandwidth

One of the challenges that large carriers have is they try to sell their own product and they’re not trying to sell someone else’s product. We’re buying local loops from various carriers and because of the mix of the carriers we’re able to make sure that the Internet access is diverse. It’s going to be a challenge if the local carrier is delivering multiple circuits but it all terminates in the local central office. We will merry up wireless point to point with fiber, fiber with copper, copper with cable and so on and so forth. It makes Internet access very robust.

On copper cabling

One of the advantages of copper is it’s absolutely everywhere. It’s typically inexpensive. The disadvantage is, there are bandwidth limitations. Today if we have fiber, it’s quite reasonable for a client to expect 100 Gig access over fibre. That’s clearly not the case on copper and it’s not the case with your typical wireless point to point connection as well. We look at our client requirements and then we mix and match fiber, copper and wireless for redundancy and capacity.

What about cable Internet access?

One of the challenges that the telecommunication industry has in Canada is that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) makes it either easier or harder to have access to certain technologies, and one of the challenges that Internet Light and Power has is gaining access to cable facilities. There are some cable providers that will work with us. Some of them – it’s more of a challenge using them as a local loop. The more access we have the better we can serve our clients. Rogers is a little on the expensive side.

Point to point wireless versus WiMAX

The advantage of point to point wireless over WiMAX is that you have a guaranteed point to point service. We want that for a typical business client, to make sure that the bandwidth is going to be sustained.

On the past 15 years

We’re really at the start of an Internet revolution. I know it’s been 15 years since the Internet became commercialized. There were people in the media who said the Internet would never take off in 1995. Boy, were they wrong, and am I glad that I didn’t actually listen to them. We were delivering dial-up services and then ISDN came out. Everyone was very excited about that. It went on to fibre services and now wireless services. I don’t expect these trends to change. We’re going to have increasingly more services delivered by more carriers and it’s a very exciting time to be in the industry.”

On the foreign ownership restrictions on facilities-based telecommunications carriers

I think it’s very important not to protect our industries I think it’s very important to promote competition and I welcome all competition because through competition we will have a better internet environment that is going to be less expensive, that will serve the public well.

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