Supermarket clearance chain Not Quite Retail (NQR) finally decided to ditch dial-up internet for its chain of 26 stores and headquarters in March, instead signing up for an Ethernet WAN connection from Uecomm.
The chain had previously been sitting on 128Kbps connections to its stores. However, plans to expand the business nationally spurred it to adopt a faster connection which could meet future demands.
NQR signed a five-year contract which will give it a mix of 512/512Kbps SHSDL and ADSL to its 26 retail sites in outer Melbourne and a 10Mbps fibre connection rolled out to the head office and warehouse. NQR also invested in 50 mobile handsets for stores and regional managers which were to create redundancy in case the primary network failed.
The cost would be "well over" half a million dollars, according to NQR's IT support manager, Frank Ruscigno, because it also set foundations for future offices. The outlay would be balanced by $100,000 in operating cost savings a year, coming from installation of VoIP to all the stores and killing the dial-up network, he said.
The provisioning for the new network has begun already. Completion is set for June 2009.
Ruscigno said he chose Uecomm because of its expertise and professional manner when dealing with NQR's concerns. NQR had also considered other vendors including Optus, Eventra, Telstra and Dycom.
"We needed a network that delivered more capacity, greater resiliency and was easily scalable to meet our future needs," said Ruscigno. "Our new network will not only be cost-effective, it will actually provide ongoing cost savings — it really was a no-brainer to invest in the upgrade."
The previous dial-up connection had also meant that management and warehouse reporting was batched overnight. This will now be done in real time, which Ruscigno considered to be "critical for a retail business, particularly one built on clearance model".
A spokesperson for Uecomm said that while businesses operating on dial-up like NQR were rare, there were a lot on DSL networks and legacy packet networks who could benefit from moving to Ethernet services.