Commsworld Fluency: 3 Years on what's changed?

As we approach the third anniversary of Commsworld acquisition of one of Scotland’s most respected ISP’s (Internet Services Provider), Fluency Communications, why did we do this and what if anything has changed over this period?

Why did we do this?

We’re very proud of Commsworld’s long-standing pedigree in telecoms and telephone systems, however inevitably over the years as telephony became IP-telephony, and we wholeheartedly embraced ‘convergence’ the shape of Commsworld’s product portfolio shifted heavily towards connectivity solutions.

However, without its own network under its own control it was clear that Commsworld and its customers expected a lot more than what the usual-suspect national operators could offer.  The service and processes used to deliver their wholesale offerings were incredibly poor, and Commsworld had very little control to remedy the situation.  It got to the stage were Commsworld, as a business, was delivering risk-analysis papers on a monthly basis to its board outlining the negative impact the telcos were having on the business and more importantly, our customers' businesses.  Something had to change.

What was the answer?

After much research, analysis and communications with industry experts and importantly our customers directly (many of whom we had supported for over 20 years) we made the bold decision to build, own and directly manage our own Next Generation Network.

Most importantly; not a white labelled version of someone else’s network or a ‘hybrid’ solution but our own proper national network.

This led to the acquisition of a small, but technically brilliant Edinburgh-based ISP, Fluency Communications in October 2012 with an equally technically brilliant founder, Charlie Boisseau who is now our CTO (Chief Technology Officer) on the Commsworld Board.

We set about immediately investing in and building our own UK wide Next Generation Network, from scratch with no legacy technologies or networks to muddy the waters.

So what is this Next Generation Network and what does it deliver:

  •          Dedicated business-only network based on carrier-grade Juniper equipment
  •          National reach (London to Inverness and everything in between)
  •          Fully optical, low latency core network ring in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  •          LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) presence in 14 BT Exchanges plus 7 other data centre points of presence
  •          Dark fibre metro-rings in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow
  •          100% UK national access via dozens of 3rd party operators
  •          Fully redundant and diverse best-of-breed Internet access via multiple Tier 1 transit providers and extensive UK direct                  peering presence
  •          Unique ‘’Pure Fibre’’ product offering using CityFibre’s AberdeenCORE and EdinburghCORE
  •          Cloud interconnects to Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure
  •          Data-centre and cloud agnostic, with access to dozens of platforms and places

How has this benefitted our business?

Commsworld has been revolutionised as a business we have complete control of everything that we possibly can and now deliver and manage our own network and technologies, which has taken all risks away from the business and has grown the business exponentially.

Since acquisition, we have added in excess of 2000 circuits onto the Fluency network delivered to all sectors and sizes of businesses. From 200+ site national Wide Area Networks (WANs) in the private sector to 400+ site city-wide WANs for the Public Sector and Global Oil & Gas organisations where we have delivered and fully manage global connectivity solutions and everything in between.

In 2015 alone we have secured contracts to the value of over £20m going forward.

How have our customers benefitted?

This has had a massive positive impact on our customers both commercially and technologically. I know this as fact as they regularly tell me (and are happily spreading the word to others)!

Commercially: Having made massive investments we no longer have to ‘’play the game’’ with the old ‘usual-suspect’ operators.  Instead of having to work in the reseller world of commissions and ‘kick-backs’ in order to generate revenue, we now buy raw components at regulated prices, adding our own value, ultimately allowing us to be more flexible on pricing.

Technology: this quite simply has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons in the market and shook up the big players. Our Fluency Network is simply better than the competition, and our customers agree.  We have demonstrated this without fault, in exhaustive due-diligence exercises carried by organisations from all sectors; Banking, Oil & Gas, Legal & Professional, Automotive, Media, Hospitality, Public Sector. The technology improvements are tangible and materially improve the way our customers operate.

Future Strategy

What are Commsworld aspirations going forward?

We set out 3 years ago, really in defence-mode, to de risk our business and that of our customers and in doing so deliver a more personal and secure service. We have now done that, and some.

We now have real ambitions to grow Commsworld exponentially. I see no reason for Commsworld not to grow rapidly and profitably in the years ahead and indeed create a Scottish business of scale that picks up where Scottish Telecom/Thus stepped away a number of years ago.

I think back to a few of the ‘’industry experts’’ I chatted with when researching the possibility of ‘’literally’’ building our own network from scratch and not white labelled. I was told:

  •          ‘’ it’s not possible’’
  •          ‘’you can’t take on the big players head to head’’
  •          ‘’you will need to partner with them and take a bit of the pie’’
  •          ‘’you will never be able to fund this’’

Well I’m glad to say it was possible, we have delivered way beyond expectations and we do not need to get a small bit of anybody else’s pie, thank you!

I now know we can build a company of scale, here in Scotland, which will benefit everyone involved, staff, customers while helping to grow the Scottish Economy and bucking the trend of money (and good quality people) going elsewhere.

The last three years have flown in and proven to be transformational to Commsworld as a company while the reliance on technology has redefined how almost every business on the globe operates in this Internet, cloud driven, online world.

This online juggernaut will accelerate and impact every organisation in every business sector over the next three years.

Commsworld will be at the forefront of this transformational wave working in partnership with our clients helping and supporting them to compete and deliver their unique products and services to their own customers.

Please feel free to engage with me:

Twitter@rickynic

Email: [email protected]

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