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  • Vermilion Voice

Primus Meet & Greet With Local Businesses


From left, Primus Account Manager Jason Hackman, and VP of Western Canada Jim Dawson. Photo Angela Mouly

Primus executives met with several local business representatives, thanking them for their support and providing an opportunity for open communication. Some attendees discussed their satisfaction with the improved service, while others who may be interested in signing up and still had concerns were able to approach the company directly.

Jim Dawson, the Primus Vice President of Western Canada, said their partnership with Alberta Broadband Networks will help them achieve the goal to have fibre internet delivered to every residence and business in the Town of Vermilion.

“In a smaller town like Vermilion there is no better marketing than word of mouth, so the best thing we can do is provide a good service; one they can tell their neighbours and their friends about. With any fibre project you can run into some operational and process issues that don’t run perfectly out of the gate. This opportunity allows us to mitigate them and ensure a smooth experience going forward,” said Dawson.

Primus Account Manager, Jason Hackman said, “This is a huge opportunity for our organization. Any time you can be part of something from scratch, you can have an impact on people’s lives and how they operate. Rural Alberta has really suffered from a lack of broadband; even those close to Edmonton who have engaged in studies and are working to create something similar. In comparison, fibre internet has been available in Edmonton for the past five - six years. Our lives revolve around the internet.”

Because business needs are more complex, their commercial services can include different service levels, dedicated account managers, and support staff. Dawson noted concerns so far were primarily related to the availability of the service.

“The initial roll-out is one size fits all, but now we are able to customize service where needed for higher dedicated bandwidth speeds, managed Wi-Fi networks, and phone service. Some drivers that may encourage businesses to want to sign up could be cost savings, business efficiency, and scalability,” said Dawson.

Businesses can now choose 200MB/s, 500MB/s or 1GB/s options.

Hackman said, “We’re here to try to solve business problems; this is a long-term relationship and we want to help businesses maximize their potential.”

President of Pentacon Utility Services Inc., Chris Parchewsky, said they initially signed up for A-Net during their trial run so was one of the first businesses to get fibre internet to their shop.

“We’re on the edge of town and originally had a Telus Hub and it was too slow. It relied on cell service so if cell service was down that day, we couldn’t work. We do team meetings on Zoom, as well as online safety training and communication. With approximately 10 employees with people on their phones and five or six on computers, it was jammed at 15 MB/sec.” said Parchewsky. “We got the middle-of-the-road package from Primus and are now receiving 500MB/s of matching upload and download speeds in every inch of our shop. Everything is seamless; there is no missing text messages at the back of the shop now.”

Since April 10, he said Pentacon also began doing a lot of the work on the main line as well as looking after the drops to the houses. Now that they are involved, they are trying to leave as little of a footprint as possible.

To businesses and residents, he said, “It’s so much faster than anything we’ve had here before. If you are using any type of computer, TV, or internet streaming services there is no buffering. We’ve had nothing but good things to say. With fibre being the way of the future and being the only fibre in town, it makes sense to have it for residential and commercial in order to keep up with all of the advancements in the future.”

Businesses can currently get up to 1 GB upload and download speeds, and they are even looking at developing a 2.5 GB option in the future. Hackman said if you have people uploading large files (such as blueprints) back and forth this will make a huge difference. A-Net Director of Commercial Operation, German Figueroa, said they will be bringing in more advanced Enterprise Class services for larger organizations as well which will allow more reliable, more secure networks.

“A managed network makes sense for a business with approximately 15 users because then you don’t have to spend money on IT. We can manage the system and make sure it is up; some things can be reset remotely,” said Hackman.

Dawson noted that in a managed network they would oversee components such as internet, switches, firewall, Wi-Fi, and security. They are looking to work with more people in the community in the future to help with installations and support issues.

Town of Vermilion CAO Kevin Lucas said, “Having Alberta Broadband and Primus here is proving that this partnership with the Town of Vermilion is solid and that we will have a lifelong relationship with them moving forward.”

Any businesses in Vermilion interested in registering to receive Primus service can call Jason Hackman directly at 780-701-5578.

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