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The day began like any other around the Seerx shop. But before the day shift was a few hours old we started receiving calls about sporadic Internet access from a number of our downtown Winnipeg based clients. We started checking the clients – all of them had Shaw as their primary ISP (Internet Service Provider) connection.

Ouch! Within minutes and a few telephone calls later, we received confirmation that there was trouble for Shaw subscribers in downtown Winnipeg. Not good, as a lot of subscribers still only have a single Internet feed. Luckily for a few of our clients, that is not the case. They had decided a long time ago, that 99.9% uptime wasn’t good enough for their needs and opted to get a second connection. They started using their 2nd ISP, MTS within minutes of contacting us. Shaw was down for the better part of the business day that day, wreaking havoc on many a company who utilizes their Internet feed as a means of revenue generation.

Who’s to blame? Ultimately, it truly is a case of caveat emptor. Buyer beware. Everyone in the city knows that either ISP could literally blow up and be down for days. Look what happened to Shaw last July, when a transformer in their Calgary office blew up and took down their subscriber base in Calgary for a few days. It can happen anytime, anywhere. No terrorists required, either. Accidents and poor infrastructure design do happen.

MTS or Shaw? It doesn’t matter. They both have their pros and cons. But in the end, you need both of them. At the time of posting this article, this writer could not find any guaranteed posted Service Level Agreements on either Internet Service Provider’s websites. If we used industry standards of 99.9% uptime, we would come up with around 9 hrs a year of downtime. Another industry standard of 99% uptime looks more like 90 hrs or almost 4 days of downtime. Let’s for arguments sake, say the average for the two ISPs lies somewhere in between – 45 hrs a year of downtime.

The Majority of that downtime will occur during the late evenings. We reguarly get notices on behalf of our clients of temporary outages occuring from both ISPs, during evenings and weekends. But let’s say that on average we get a blip like the one that happened two weeks ago for Shaw at least once or twice a year. What will that cost your company?

A 10 person office that needs the Internet to get their email, receive and process orders, or in some cases use the Internet to place trades, could lose hundreds if not thousands of dollars in revenue. Not to mention lost productivity and the headaches and stress that go with that outage. Add to that confusion the fact that the majority of businesses these days, use the Internet to post VISA, M/C or debit transactions, we would have a recipe for a lot of needless but nonetheless, self generated pain.

All this vs. a 2nd ISP account that might cost you $60 a month. Once you do the math – $60 a month vs $1000’s of dollars, of lost revenue, productivity and influx of headaches, it’s easier to see what you need to do.

Call your service provider. Or call Seerx. We’ve been setting up networks for 13 years. Dual ISPs for about 5 of those years. We know the ramifications of not having any Internet, when you need it most – during the business day. We’d love to help you stay up, all the time.

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