How to thrive in the fast-paced service provider world: A Q&A with Fibrenoire’s CTO

Since its founding in 2007, Fibrenoire, based in Montreal, Quebec, has grown from a startup to one of Canada’s largest metro-fiber-to-the-business service providers. As further testament to their success Fibernoire was the first Canadian service provider to earn MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 Services certification leveraging Cisco’s Carrier Ethernet Systems.

We recently had an opportunity to interview Jean-François Lévesque, Fibrenoire’s Chief Technology Officer, to hear how the company has stayed on the cutting edge while remaining lean and efficient.

Jean Francois Levesque_1

Fibrenoire CTO JF Levesque

Cisco: What makes you stand out in the service provider business?

JFL: One of the things that differentiate us is focus that we specialize exclusively in fiber optic Internet connections and fiber optic private network services for companies. We also offer a consultative engineering approach that accompanies solution engineering, from project delivery to 24/7 technical support and access monitoring from our Network Operations Centre (NOC).

In addition, we are midsized—lean but savvy—so we are essentially in the middle of the market. We contend with both smaller network service providers and Canada’s largest carriers. On one hand, small service providers often win out based on price, while the well-known brands may deliver “vanilla” solutions or put junior staff in charge of projects. On the other hand, we use both technology and know-how to create custom solutions for customers to stay ahead of the competition.

These efforts have paid off. We’ve gone from three to 50 employees in seven years and continue to expand.

Cisco: What services do you provide?

JFL: We have our own network of over 2,820 fiber route miles in Canada. Over this network, we provide Internet, Ethernet, private, and managed IP Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), custom-built dark fiber, and wavelength transport services. We serve more than 1,200 companies, as well as other service providers.

Cisco: What trends in the industry are most affecting Fibrenoire?

JFL: Technology changes so quickly, as do customer needs. This is where Cisco really assists us. We’ve built an end-to-end Cisco Carrier Ethernet System covering the Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto regions. The Cisco solution enables us to serve customers just like Google does, giving them fast, 1G to 10G service delivery.

We’ve built an end-to-end Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)-certified system. We also chose the Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) architecture to deliver services because it is purpose-built for next-generation Internet and IP/MPLS services.

Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Routers are a big part of our foundation. They allow us to scale up to deliver high quality IP-based services such as Quality of Service (QoS) and MPLS VPNs. They give us high performance and allow us to support a broad array of features and a large number of customers. Cisco’s Technical Assistant Center has also been instrumental in helping us meet our stringent service-level agreements with customers.

Cisco: What does this ultimately mean for your ongoing success?

JFL: We have lowered total cost of ownership of our network and increased our ability to scale. We are also looking at ways to modernize and have recently deployed the Cisco ASR 9001 and 9000v Series Aggregation Services Routers for our next-generation Ethernet architecture.  The roll-out of this new architecture is underway with customer traffic already in production.

So it’s been a win-win. Cisco continues to innovate and so do we. We may not be one of Cisco’s largest customers, but we are one of the most demanding. Cisco has been responsive to our needs—that’s rare and rewarding in the business world.

To read the full story about Fibrenoire’s use of Cisco solutions, click here.

This post originally appeared on the Cisco SP360 blog.

About Mark Kummer

As Vice President, Service Provider Canada, Mark Kummer is responsible for all sales and support for Cisco’s service provider business in Canada, serving telecommunications service providers, cable companies, Internet service providers, wireless providers, and utilities. A 20-year veteran of the information technology and communications industry, Kummer has extensive experience within the global service provider community that spans from infrastructure to managed service sales. Kummer has served on the board of the European Competitive Telecoms Association and actively participated in forums to engage UK service provider bodies and regulators. Kummer holds a bachelors degree in engineering from King’s College at the University of London, and a masters’ degree in engineering from London University’s Imperial College. En tant que vice-président, Fournisseur de services pour le Canada, Mark Kummer est responsable de toutes les ventes et du soutien offert aux fournisseurs de services de Cisco au Canada, notamment aux fournisseurs de services de télécommunications, aux entreprises de câblodistribution, aux fournisseurs de services Internet et sans fil et aux services publics. Fort de 20 années d’expérience dans l’industrie des technologies de l’information (TI) et des communications, M. Kummer possède une vaste connaissance de la communauté globale de fournisseurs de services, et ce, dans divers domaines allant de l’infrastructure jusqu’aux ventes des services gérés. M. Kummer a été membre du conseil de l’European Competitive Telecoms Association (ECTA) et a participle activement à des forums visant à inciter la participation des organes de contrôle et des organismes de réglementation des fournisseurs de services au Royaume-Uni. Il est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en génie du King’s College, à l’University of London, et d’une maîtrise en génie de l’Imperial College de la London University.
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