|January 15th 2010||January Makes A Bright Start For Exetel|
January is generally a quiet month for business in Australia with most Australians taking time off for their annual vacations; and in Exetel's six years of being in business that has always been the case for us - except this year has been very different.
In the first half of January the order intake for ADSL1 and ADSL2 services has increased by around 70% over January 2009. Wireless broadband orders have increased around 300% and Business Ethernet/SHDSL have increased an incredible 500% over the same period in 2009.
Perhaps the 'financial downturn' is well and truly over?
|January 26th 2010||Exetel Buys Additional Office Space|
To cope with the rapid growth of corporate personnel in Australia, Exetel has purchased additional floor space in the building we currently occupy. Quite possibly this can be seen as very poor planning on Exetel's part as we bought the current floor in mid 2009 and only moved into the current premises on June 1st 2009. To an extent that's true. However Exetel's growth over the past six months has been much faster than even our most optimistic plans allowed for and we have no option but to put this 'stop gap' solution in place while we make new longer term plans.
Much of the personnel growth has come from the rapid take up of Exetel's new higher speed data/internet offerings for medium and medium/large businesses which have continued to be well received by new customers in the three East Coast capital cities. This new technology, that renders the most commonly used lower end business data services run over SHDSL obsolete, provides quadruple the speed for less than half the price of the old technology and is being enthusiastically received whenever it is proposed to a current SHDSL user.
|February 4th 2010||Exetel Makes It To The Deloitte's 500 Fastest Growing Tech Companies In Asia|
For the third year in a row Exetel was included in Deloitte's ranking of the fastest growing technology companies in Asia. 'Awards' such as these do not mean very much in themselves but it's unusual for 'mature' companies to be able to sustain very high levels of growth beyond their start up years. It is even more remarkable for companies to sustain their growth 'organically' (not taking over other businesses) as Exetel has done.
The ranking 'award' is based on the, audited, revenue growth over the past three years which in Exetel's case is 91% or an average of growth of around 30% each year over the past three years. In an industry where growth is more often measured in single or low double digits Exetel continues to exceed that of all of its competitors by maintaining a business objective of offering the lowest cost range of communications services to both residential and business users.
|February 15th 2010||Exetel's ADSL2 Service Declared Internet Product Of The Year (2009)|
We were advised yesterday that our NF/23BYO Line ADSL2 service had been declared PCUSER's Internet Product Of The Year for 2009 and would be reported as such in the February edition of the magazine (page 54).
While the only 'awards' that count in business are the monthly management accounts (and the subsequently yearly tax return) that show the company has achieved a planned profit and a planned revenue growth, getting some sort of external recognition is always a very pleasant experience particularly when it is so unexpected.
We have one of the walls in our small reception area in North Sydney pretty much full of the various awards given to Exetel over the last six years (the first one dating back to July 2004; SMH - Best Broadband Product in low download, medium download categories and runner up in high download category) and we have small table the top of which is getting quite crowded with 'trophies'. Of course, in the scheme of things these displays don't mean a great deal but they are a vague reminder to our employees (and maybe to our visitors) that the company is recognised outside its own operations as doing some very good things and consistently doing them over time.
|March 8th 2010||Exetel Releases Lowest Cost Mobile Rates In Australia|
Exetel will release a ground breaking MoIP + SMS over IP service on Monday 8th March 2010.
The service will either work on an Exetel supplied SIM or on any other vendor's sim that is inserted into either an iPhone or any Nokia phone that has 3G capability.
Prices will be:
Calls to any wireline destination in Australia - 10 cents untimed (no flag fall)
Calls to any mobile number in Australia - 15 cents per minute (no flag fall)
SMS - 5 cents per 160 characters or part thereof
An application needs to be downloaded either from iPhone's appstore or from the Exetel web site.
If buying an Exetel service there will be an option of selecting either the Optus or Vodafone network.
|March 21st 2010||Exetel Hires It's 100th Employee|
Exetel hired it's 100th staff member late last week with that staff split almost exactly evenly `between our North Sydney and Colombo offices. Both offices will be increased in size (Colombo by double and Sydney by one third) in April to allow for future planned growth.
The growth in Sydney is planned to be almost entirely in Corporate Sales and Support as we continue to increase the company's emphasis on growing the revenue Exetel derives from business services and market places. Our growth in Sri Lanka is planned to come from increasing support and other telephone services from 16 hours x 7 days a week to 24 hours x 7 days a week as well as more rapidly growing our programming personnel in Sri Lanka.
Exetel has a very high personnel retention rate with seven of the first ten people hired in calendar 2004 still working for the company.
|April 15th 2010||Given AAPT's Inaugural “Wholesale Partner Award for Excellence”|
AAPT has made this award to Exetel for "The Most Significant Ethernet Sales in 2009". Exetel worked with AAPT on their introduction of this new technology to the business marketplace over the second half of 2009 and into 2010. The new technology allows a customer to replace their old SHDSL services (of 1, 2 or 4 mbps) with the new EOC technology at speeds of up to 20 mbps x 20 mbps at LOWER costs than most current users of SHDSL technology were/are paying for a 2 mbps x 2 mbps service.
Over the first six months of this promotion Exetel sold and installed over 200 EOC services ranging from 4 mbps to 40 mbps replacing SHDSL and other services previously provided by other carriers and service providers. The new technology provides far faster speeds at very much lower costs than the older technology it replaces and sales of these new services continue to increase month on month.
Large carriers have now 'announced they too will make this new technology available but have yet to provide details of pricing and availability.
|April 27th 2010||Exetel Announces New Lowest Cost IP Services For Large Business|
A likely price of IP being purchased by large companies today is close to, in some cases exceeding, $A200.00 per mbps.
Exetel released today a range of IP services for large business customers (on single or dual fibre connections) priced at $A40.00 per mbps – effectively reducing the cost of IP services to many large businesses by over 80%.
As well as single or dual fibre connects between Exetel and the customer's premises the customer also has the choice of dual paths to and from the world wide web via different paths/carriers to either the USA or via Japan.
The availability of these services is basically within the CBDs of Australia's mainland capital cities but some other locations are also available.
|May 10th 2010||First Fibre Customers Order Exetel Fibre Services|
Exetel has 'switched on' its first small area where it can provide fibre services at speeds up to 100 mbps to residential users. This area covers 1,800 residences in Point Cook in Victoria and is delivered via Telstra's fibre network. This fibre service is the first of several services planned to be offered by Exetel in conjunction with fibre networks developed by other Australian organisations between now and the end of June 2010.
Pricing from Exetel is either comparable to ADSL2 based services and in some areas considerably lower cost and can be found on Exetel's web site here:
Exetel expects the number of Australian residences and smaller businesses connected to a fibre network to grow rapidly in the new financial year and expects these early associations with various fibre network providers to be highly beneficial as fibre becomes a competitor to aging ADSL services.
|May 25th 2010||Exetel 'Creates' New Head Office|
Exetel is still a very modest sized company with annualized revenues of around $A60 million and slightly less than 100 employees (50 in Sri Lanka and 50 in Australia. Exetel has grown, in terms of revenue, each consecutive month since being 'founded' in January 2004 and has managed to keep its employee numbers very low due to its extensive use of automation.
On May 1st 2009 Exetel purchased a floor in an office building in North Sydney to house its Australian employees but the growth of personnel plus the decision to build out our in house data centre has used up all of the spare space we started with. Earlier this year we bought a piece of a floor in the same building and have now completed the fit out of that space that will allow our finance and administration and programming personnel to move to the new space which will allow Exetel to continue to expand it's corporate sales and engineering force on the current floor.
So, in a way, Exetel now has a separate "head office".
|June 1st 2010||Exetel Set's A New Standard In Providing Telephone Support|
In May 2010 Exetel responded to almost 18,000 customer telephone calls to provisioning, support and sales in an average of 40 seconds. When we set up Exetel in Sri Lanka our objective was to answer all residential customer support, enquiry and sales calls in less than one minute and this has now been accomplished for all three Colombo based service elements.
It is unlikely that ANY other communications service provider in Australia comes anywhere close to this speed of response to its residential customers and it is something that Exetel's Sri Lankan management and employees can be very proud of.
|June 21st 2010||Exetel Signs Up To Provide Fibre Services Via The NBNCo Network|
Exetel has signed a wholesale contract with NBNco (Tasmania) to provide a range of fibre delivered internet and telephone plans in three Tasmanian Towns.
The first orders were received within an hour of making the order process for these services ‘live' on the web site.
|July 1st 2010||Exetel Exceeds All Planned targets In FY2010|
The last twelve months have been by far the hardest in Exetel's ‘life' to date. However we managed to meet all of the targets we set for the company 12 months ago and ended up growing the business revenues by just on 20% for the year – a quite remarkable result in such a very tough year.
In a year that saw major changes in most areas of the Australian communications market places Exetel's revenues in business services and VoIP both grew very strongly with even the ultra fiercely competitive residential ADSL market paces yielding a few percent growth in a year were many companies saw their ADSL market share shrink and two more medium sized ISPs (People Telecom and Netspace) join Westnet and Soul earlier in 2009 in selling out to other providers.
There is no doubt that the markets in which Exetel operates will continue to get tougher than they were over the past 12 months but we will continue to work harder than ever to continue to deliver the highest quality services at the lowest possible prices to our customers.
|July 31st 2010||Exetel Extends Fibre Coverage|
Exetel has now completed the interconnects to the Opticomm fibred estates in both Victoria and in NSW and the first orders have been received and are planned to be activated in early August.
The first Tasmanian customers are due for activation at around the same time and there are now over 80 fibre customers (using Telstra's fibre) in the 1,400 home estate at Point Cook on the outskirts of Melbourne.
Although the mainland delivery of fibre services via the NBNCo seems to be 9 to 12 months away Exetel will continue to gain experience and competence in the delivery and trouble shooting/fixing of fibre connections via the current three initiatives.
|August 15th 2010||Exetel Signs Contract Extension With Telstra To Provide ADSL2 Services From Another 800 Exchanges|
Exetel's communications services business began by offering ADSL1 services to residential customers using Telstra Wholesale provided connections from the customer to Exetel's closest points of interconnect with the Telstra network. While Telstra has wholesaled ADSL2 services to other ISPs for some time Exetel has only now extended its contract to provide such services to its own customers.
The principal appeal for Exetel was being able to provide ADSL services using Telstra Wholesale services is that it nearly trebles the number of exchanges that are available and the majority of these additional exchanges are in regional and some country areas – parts of Australia of which Exetel are especially ‘fond'.
|August 27th 2010||Exetel Bills More Than $5,000,000 In A Month For The First Time|
Although this is a very, very tough year for the communications industry generally and it's certainly tough for Exetel. However we continue to grow and this month we reached the mile stone of invoicing more than $5 million in a single month for the first time. It has taken us until our 80th month of operation to achieve this but all of the signs are that we will continue to grow and if our macro planning becomes a reality it will take us a much shorter time to reach the $10 million revenue in a single month.
|September 15th 2010||Exetel Activates First NBN Fibre Connections In Tasmania|
Exetel signed a contract to supply fibre services in Tasmania via the NBN (Tasmania) network some months ago and today connected the first ‘live’ customer. Over the coming month Exetel is planning to connect another 20 or so customers to the ‘trial’ network in three small towns and then will offer similar services wherever NBN (Tasmania) makes fibre available.
|September 25th 2010||Exetel Agrees To Sell Optus Mobile Services|
Exetel reached agreement today to switch new customer’s mobile services from the Vodafone network to the Optus network. Exetel have used, very successfully, the Vodafone network to provide mobile services to its customers for over six years - almost for as long as Exetel has been in business. However as Exetel provides wireless broadband services via the Optus network there are many compelling reasons to now offer mobile voice services via the Optus network.
Under the proposed agreement Exetel will resell Optus ‘retail’ plans as well as continue to design and sell its own mobile plans. Services are expected to be available on the Exetel web site fom November 1st 2010.
|October 13th 2010||Exetel Activates First Optus Network Mobile Customer|
Exetel has provided mobile services to its customers using the Vodafone network since mid 2004 and has been totally happy with the coverage and reliability of the Vodafone network throughout that time. Earlier this month Exetel signed an agreement with Optus to provide mobile services from today onwards and began taking orders from current Exetel customers early this afternoon and activated the first of those customers with an hour or so of receiving the first on line order.
As well as offering different types of mobile telephone services the principal for selecting Optus was that it allows Exetel to offer discounts on its customers ADSL services of between $5.00 a month and $20.00 a month as an added incentive for the customer to stay with Exetel rather than be persuaded to move away via the “bundling deals” currently being offered by Telstra. Exetel’s discounts to users of mobile services mean that it is is possible for a customer who uses three or four mobiles in their family to actually get their ADSL service free of charge.
|October 28th 2010||Exetel Signs 500th Ethernet Over Copper Business Customer|
Exetel received orders for three new EOC data circuits from its 500th new customer for this relatively new technology today. Al three links were for 10mbps/10mbps circuits replacing another supplier’s 2mbps/2mbps circuits which were being charged at almost 300% more than the new 10mbps/10mbps circuits.
EOC services have enabled all of the 500 customers (many buying multiple data links) to reduce the cost of their Internet services monthly bills by more than half while gaining the advantage of double, triple or four or five times the speeds. Exetel was one of the first communication providers in Australia to provide business data over this technology. Services over EOC which combines much lower costs than older technologies with large speed advantages.
|November 16th 2010||Exetel Achieves New World's Best Support Standards|
Exetel is in its seventh year of operation providing data and voice services to residential, corporate and government customers throughout Australia. Starting from a small back room in one of the founder’s houses in January 2004 it now employs 100 people (50 in Australia and 50 in Sri Lanka) and bills over $A5 million a month having grown its business month on month for 82 consecutive months.
Key to the company’s constant development was its decision, from ‘day one’ to develop every business process itself writing all code required to sell and support a customer base of over 125,000 users of twelve different data and voice services. Exetel has a fully automated suite of processes that it continues to further develop and refine each month of its existence. The level of automation is such that a new customer can order up to twelve different types of services, be kept advised of their progress towards activation and then be billed, have any problems resolved, order new services, change any aspect of the services and learn about better ways to use the services without ever speaking to an Exetel employee….should they wish to do so. If they do wish to do so the average wait time is less than 60 seconds, for any service, and over 70% of telephone calls are responded to in less than ‘four rings’.
This level of automated support is delivered by telephone and mobile recorded voice, mobile SMS, email and incredibly detailed FAQ and wiki based help files and advice and the most detailed and sophisticated on line diagnostic tools within a totally comprehensive user help facilities that is regularly expanded and modified in dialogue with any customer who wishes to provide suggestions and who then participates in the development and testing of the new service/utility/process.
Using this company strategy has enabled Exetel to operate a company that meets and exceeds world best practice in all business ratios while responding to customer calls in less than 60 seconds on average and responding to customer emails within 30 minutes on average 16 hours a day, 7 days a week 365 days a year.
|November 26th 2010||Exetel Signs Contracts To Duplicate Australian Network|
Exetel signed the first contracts today to duplicate its current network paths and add new PoPs in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and establish a PoP in Auckland. The contracts are with three different companies and relate to new hardware, additional Australian data links and a link between Sydney and Auckland as Exetel’s first expansion in to markets other than Australia.
The objective of this, by Exetel’s standards, quite large financial and time investment is to add a triple level of redundancy to Exetel’s Australian network and to provide a new 10 gbps backbone that will eventually replace the current multiple 1 gbps links currently deployed by Exetel.
|December 14th||Exetel Begins Migration Of Australian Network To 10 gbps Backbone|
Exetel took delivery of the first six 10 gbps which will be used to replace nine 1 gbps switches in its 3 Sydney data centres. The new 10 gbps links between these data centres is expected to be completed before Christmas and Exetel will schedule times between Christmas and New Year to install the new hardware and progressively cut over the new links.
In January more new 10 gbps switches and additional Cisco 10000 routers will arrive and a fourth PoP (at Equinix) will be commissioned to complete the plan to provide triple redundancy between all of Exetel’s Sydney locations.
In February and again in March 2011 Exetel will commission second PoPs in each of Melbourne and Brisbane to provide complete redundancy for all services hubbed in those locations.
|December 21st||Exetel Signs Hosting Contract With Google|
Exetel today signed a contract with Google allowing Google to install a caching server cluster to improve the speed of downloads for Exetel customers using the Google services. This contract is similar to the one Exetel signed with Akamai some two years ago that provides cached content to Exetel customers from these local servers rather than having to download the content from USA based devices.
Google estimates that currently it sends Exetel customers some 700 mbps of data at peak times which is approximately 10% of total peak time data. This is consistent with the Akamai experience which generates around the same level of downloads at peak time.
This new service is expected to be operational by the end of January 2011.