Look looks to offer high-speed wireless

Quebec-based wireless broadband carrier Look Communications Inc. and Cisco Systems Canada Co. have teamed up to offer Look’s customers expanded wireless Internet services.

The collaboration will offer Look’s customers in Quebec and Ontario the benefits of a Cisco-Powered Network Program, which Look and Cisco say will allow customers to access industry leading network-based applications.

“In terms of the Internet side and on the IP side, it’s a testimonial that they’re (Cisco) always there,” said Look’s Internet services, vice-president of technology, Michael Gibson.

“If you think of the Internet, it’s difficult to disassociate Cisco from it,” said Mark Quigley, analyst for The Yankee Group in Canada. “And, on top of that, it’s not just good marketing that has resulted in Cisco gaining that reputation; the product set that they bring to the marketplace is one that’s tried and true.”

Through its multipoint distribution system (MDS), Look provides a broad spectrum of digital entertainment services, Internet access and Web-related services.

With end-to-end Cisco connections, Look believes it is ensuring its customers will have reliable, high-performance wireless Internet services and technical support advantages.

According to Gibson, Cisco’s reliability wasn’t the only facet in Look making the decision to become a Cisco partner. Cisco’s technical support was also a key selling point.

“One of the great things about being a Cisco-to-Cisco Powered Network, is that Cisco does provide a lot of interaction between their senior technical people and (Look’s) senior technical people,” he said. “It is truly the best of the breed.”

Look Communications will utilize Cisco’s new core routers, switches and dial access equipment to provide its customers with wireless, high-speed Internet service.

“Cisco networks are now installed coast-to-coast across the country,” said Look’s vice-president of marketing, Paul Engels. “We’ve already accomplished the migration of all of our existing services to the Cisco platforms. All of our dial-up across the country is handled by the Cisco access service.”

Look is already one of Canada’s leading providers of business-to-business access, web hosting and domain name registration, according to Engels, so it is no surprise that business-to-business wireless Internet solutions are an important element in Look’s future plans.

“It already is a priority to us, we’re already doing it, it’s not a new thing,” he said. “We know that business, right now, demands higher-performance services, such as high speed. They’re looking for greater availability, they want more options than what ISDN offers them, or even ADSL. Given that neither ISDN or ADSL are available in all areas, and where they are (available), they can sometimes be very expensive. We’re looking to provide more coverage, more high speed services and more choice in price points.”

As a Cisco-Powered Network partner, Look hopes to bring to Canadian business services that are not available yet, “because the providers are, perhaps, not well-known or they don’t cover enough area,” said Engel. “Our plan is to offer wireless services nationally across the country.”

With their application to Industry Canada for an MCS license, Look intends to offer, “wireless coverage across the country from coast-to-coast with the exception of Manitoba. Look intends to be available in all major areas as opposed to not available,” according to Engel.

The collaboration with Cisco will enable Look Communications to market services predominantly based on Cisco equipment and software – including using the Cisco-Powered Network logo. The move is designed to heighten Look’s brand recognition, and demonstrate their ability to provide innovative service, and most importantly, customer confidence, Engel said.