Toronto tenants get gig Ethernet service

A Toronto-area building management company is hoping to make its properties a little smarter through the deployment of broadband technology from Stream Intelligent Networks Corp.

According to Eric Yapp, manager of national telecommunications at O&Y Enterprise, a division of O&Y Properties Inc., his company is trying to get the jump on broadband technology in its buildings before tenants start pounding on the door demanding it. And just when O&Y was thinking about deploying broadband gigabit Ethernet, along came Stream.

“We didn’t necessarily choose Stream. We sort of chose each other,” Yapp said. “We just started to realize this was a service that tenants are going to require. So in some sense, as a landlord, we have to be a little bit ahead of the curve.”

O&Y is the owner of commercial properties like First Canadian Place in Toronto, Place de Ville in Ottawa and the Altius Centre in Calgary. According to Yapp, the broadband access will be available to customers in its buildings as the technology gets rolled out.

“We also manage industrial and retail [buildings], and from what we can tell, high-speed applications will eventually get out there, but for the most part, those tenants don’t require the same bandwidth needs as the commercial tenants do.” Yapp added that commercial tenants are looking for basic services like broadband voice and data, but the biggest need is for tenants’ own network usage to connect to their offices. Some tenants enjoy the benefits of applications such as videoconferencing, and broadband connections are necessary for such things, he said.

“With gigabit Ethernet, it’s a very scalable technology,” said Craig White, vice-president of network implementation at Stream. “We go in initially and can be providing three times the bandwidth of a T-1 for the price of a T-1, and it’s scalable in the sense that once it’s connected up, the customer may be getting 5MB today and if they want 10MB tomorrow or 100MB, right up to a gigabit, it’s a phone call [away] and it’s all software-enabled. There’s no truck roll. It’s like turning on the tap and opening up the flow.”

Yapp said there is a significant cost saving to turning toward technology offered by companies like Stream when compared to the high cost of multiple T-1 lines. With gigabit Ethernet, he said O&Y will be able to offer tenants the choice between it and traditional T-1.

“If we can offer tenants choice of these services, especially at a reduced rate, which is a major concern for smaller and medium-sized tenants, then we become more competitively positioned in the real estate market.”

To begin with, Stream’s broadband technology will be deployed in approximately five or six buildings, although the number of deployments could be as high as 10, Yapp said. He added that the technology will not be available in every building O&Y manages, only where there is a business need for it.

Stream currently has its broadband technology deployed in over 40 buildings in the Greater Toronto Area, including many of the buildings on the underground path that leads through the downtown core, White said. While the company’s main focus has been on the Toronto area, the company expects to push out to other municipalities and provinces in the future.

Stream is on the Web at