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Stratford & Kitchener: They’re practically touching!

It all started in Stratford, Ontario.

See, if you lived in Stratford, calling someone on the phone in Kitchener, the city just to the east, you were charged for long distance.

You could practically see the place, yet the phone company was going to ding you 40 cents a minute for calling right next door? That’s insane! That’s outrageous! That’s disgusting!

But for two local buddies, Jody Schnarr and John Stix, that was awesome!

They saw an opportunity that no one else had. They would cobble together some basic tech to  hook up the two communities, charge customers a flat fee, and allow them them talk all they wanted.

It was a win-win for sure. So what they did was knock on 700 doors in town and asked if anyone would be interested in a service that allowed them to talk to Kitchener all the live long day for a flat fee of only $10 a month.

Practically everyone said “yes,” so with that market research in hand, they spent all the money that had between them, about $15,000, on this new switching gear and their brand new phone business was born.

…and then precisely none of the 700 who said they would take it, took it.

Panicked, they spent the next two months “calling, begging,” and in the end, they had managed to sign up a grand total of 70 customers.

Which was enough to guarantee that they would go broke. Their monthly carrying costs were $1000 a month so it wasn’t looking too good, but then they came up with a new plan.

The “free” plan.

“We thought about getting someone to pay the $1000 monthly bill, to let everybody use it for free,” said Schnarr.

What they needed was an advertiser. They pitched local car dealer Gary Stockie with the simple concept: Anyone making a call would dial a custom branded number and after hearing a brief advertisement, they would be able to make a free long distance call.

Gary went for it, so Schnarr created an easy to remember phone number, 662-GARY, and launched their first PR campaign.

Next-day coverage in the local newspaper prompted 4000 people to use it that first day. “The town just went nuts. At the end of it, we had 8000 household using it a day,” said Stix.

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John & Jody

Up, up and away in fact. This elegant “free” calling plan was quickly picked up by communities across the province, and then by companies like Labatt and the Toronto Star.

Flash forward to today and these two local guys, Schnarr is the CEO and Stix is the CMO, have built one of Canada’s largest coast to coast networks that supports over 300,000 customers a day. They have over 200 employees globally with their head office in Cambridge and two international offices located in Sofia, Bulgaria and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Yet that concept of “free” is never far away. The concept that built the company goes into every product they offer today.

Be it all the free calling features or the free long distance for Worldline digital home phone customers, or the free unlimited bandwidth for High Speed Internet customers, it’s everywhere, and it will remain so in whatever they come up with next.

It’s a very non-traditional business model, and one that leaves many in the industry scratching their heads.

But for Jody & John, free works, and after all, it’s their company, they’re free do whatever they want.

Facebook makes us Psychic

Facebook

Let’s Be Friends

So, there’s this new customer Greg, who just signed up for a Worldline Home Phone and Internet Bundle five days ago, and basically he’s not been happy ever since.

It seems both his Internet and Home phone were going down about once a day since he changed to us, and this morning he’d had enough. He was going to call us and (rightfully) give us a piece of his mind.

But first, he wanted to vent on Facebook, and posted an all-caps screed about how much we suck:

Greg_screedAnd that was on the front page of our Facebook page. Ouch!

The thing is, as soon as someone posts on our Facebook page, we get an alert. He posted this at 6 a.m. this morning and just a few minutes after that we’d already alerted our technical help department and they opened up a service ticket. A few minutes after 10 they gave Greg a shout to let him know that they figured out what his problem was, (he had a rare issue with something called “occupancy”, which is undetectable during installation as it occurs so infrequently), and they’d have it repaired in 24-48 hours. (It actually was fixed early in the afternoon, but who’s counting?)

The point here is, Greg never had the chance to call us.

We called him letting him know that we were aware of his problem, and would take care of it as soon as possible. His reaction on Facebook was awesome:

Greg_CS

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it again: If you are a Worldline customer, you really should follow us on Facebook & Twitter because if you have a problem, we’ll solve it as fast as we possibly can.

Faster than the speed of phone in fact.

Official Press Release: Worldline’s Statement on CRTC’s DSL Ruling of February 21, 2013

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Worldline’s Statement on CRTC’s DSL Ruling of February 21, 2013

One of Canada’s fastest growing CLECs welcomes this game changing decision

CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO–(02/22/13)- The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced Thursday, February 21, it has established a standard billing model to set limits on how much the telecom incumbents may charge independent Internet providers such as Worldline.

Worldline will see “significant reductions” in the wholesale rates they pay as the CRTC ruled their monthly fee of $2,213 for 100 Mbps of capacity is to be cut by more than half to $1,036 per 100 Mbps.

Worldline, a leader in unlimited Internet service, who already offers the best value in the market, welcomes this ruling, and wonders what took the CRTC so long to realize that Canadians have been overcharged for their data for years:

“I feel this is a tremendous win for not only the independent phone and internet companies that deliver DSL service, but for the customer,” said Worldline Co-founder and CMO John Stix. “There is no doubt that this decision tips the scales as up until now cable internet providers have had a distinct advantage over DSL service providers.”

“I can speak for Worldline, that we will be looking to pass along the savings brought forth by this ruling to as many Canadians as possible.  Worldline has always stood for creating alternative services with unique value for our customers and we strive everyday to maintain this market leading philosophy.”

Coinciding with this landmark decision, Worldline will soon be announcing how they will pass these savings along to the Canadian marketplace.

About Worldline:
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, Worldline provides affordable home phone, high speed internet and long distance services to hard working Canadians. With over 300,000 subscribers, Worldline is one of the fastest growing telecommunications companies in Canada.  Worldline is wholly owned and operated by Fibernetics Corp, a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC).  Website: worldline.ca Twitter: @worldlinecanada

About Fibernetics:
Headquartered in Cambridge Ontario, Fibernetics is dedicated to changing the way people communicate by offering telco functionality and pricing that Canadians have never seen before. Fibernetics has its own national infrastructure that delivers a full range of voice and data services for residential customers through Worldline and business clients with their Newt PBX and ANA solutions. Website: fibernetics.ca Twitter: @fibernetics

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The CRTC comes through for Worldline’s High-Speed Unlimited Customers

CRTC

We love you. We really, really love you!

It’s not too often when you get to say, “gee, I love my government,” but today you can, at least in relation to your data costs.

If you are a Worldline Unlimited High-Speed Internet customer that is.

For folks signed up to some other Internet Service Providers… well, not so much.

What makes us different from many other ISP’s is this; we are exclusively using something called a “Digital Subscriber Line” or DSL to provide Internet service to our customers.

And yesterday, Canada’s telecommunications watchdog ruled that our DSL customers have been paying way too much for their Internet, (which is something we’ve been saying for years by the way).

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced Thursday it has established a standard billing model to set new limits on how much the telecom behemoths can charge independent Internet providers, (that’s us), who need to access their infrastructure.

That means some independent Internet providers could see “significant reductions” in the wholesale rates they pay to the dominant players like Bell and Telus, whose DSL networks the smaller ISPs use.

Again, that’s us, although we ain’t that small; 300,000 people use our services after all. One of the key words in there is “some,” because the CRTC also ruled that wholesale rates for cable Internet networks will go up. By a lot.

So basically what it all means is this:

  • If you get your Internet via cable, like Rogers customers for example, your Internet bill is about to go up.
  • If you are a customer of an ISP, like say, TekSavvy who offers both cable and DSL, your bill will go up because they are going to have to spread the sting of the cable price hike to all their customers regardless of how they get their Internet.

But if you are our customer, well, we’re going to share in the savings with you. We’re not precisely sure how as of yet as this announcement just came down the pipe, (and we’ll be too busy partying for a while).

But in short order we’ll be letting you know how we’re going to take advantage of this fantastic ruling and how it will impact you,

Again, only if you are a Worldine Unlimited High-Speed Internet customer that is. And if you’re not, after reading this, what the heck are you thinking?

So stay tuned. 2013 is shaping up to be a great year!

 

A Letter from the CEO

Okay, this isn’t an actual letter from the CEO. Tricked ya! But after you are all hooked up with Worldline’s Home Phone & Internet Bundle, in the welcome package that includes stuff like the modem, cables, instructions, discount coupons etc, you will also find this on page one:

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Page 1 of the Bundle Welcome booklet

This letter from Jody provides our customers, be they unlimited long distance calling customers, unlimited international calling customers, unlimited high-speed internet customers or Internet and home phone with unlimited long distance bundle customers, with his personal email address, which means all our customers have direct access to the guy who makes the rest of us jump through hoops around here.

It’s a powerful weapon he’s handed off to the hundreds of thousands that we serve.

It’s been written here before how useful it is for our customers to follow Worldline on Twitter and on Facebook, because it gives them instant customer support – and that’s all true.

But giving them a direct connection to the head honcho?

Man, what was he thinking?

What he was thinking was this: We’ve made it way too hard for our customers to interact with us, and the opposite is true as well. We haven’t been taking advantage of our greatest resource, our customers, to improve the services we provide.

In 2013 we have committed ourselves to change. We are opening up as many avenues of access that we can, and in the coming months we be debuting a set of tools that will greatly improve the customer experience.

But in the mean time, drop us a line whenever you want, and give Jody a shout if you have a question or an issue.

If you do, it’s guaranteed it will never be ignored.